In August, the Russian Minister of Economic Development Maxim Oreshkin said that the trade turnover between Russia and China in the end of 2017 could reach $80 billion, adding that by 2020 the figure is capable of exceeding $200 billion.

In a related move, China has established a payment versus payment (PVP) system that allows mutual trade contracts to be settled in Chinese yuan and Russian ruble. The goal is to reduce risks and improve the efficiency of its foreign exchange transactions.

In 2008 no contracts were settled in the two trade partners mutual currencies, as the dollar continued to dominate international trade deals. However, today about a quarter of contracts by value is settled in the two national currencies.

The PVP system for yuan and ruble transactions was launched last week after receiving approval from China’s central bank, according to a statement by the country’s foreign exchange trading system.

This is the first time China has offered a PVP system for trading the yuan and foreign currencies, underscoring Beijing’s and Moscow’s commitment to deepening trade ties. It is also part of the financial infrastructure that goes along with China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) project to create a trading land bridge between Asia and Europe.

PVP systems allow simultaneous settlement of transactions in two different currencies. The China Foreign Exchange Trade System (CFETS), that will oversee the system, said it will reduce settlement risk as well as the risk of transactions taking place in different time zones, and improve foreign exchange market efficiency.

CFETS says it intends to implement the PVP system with other currencies, but the ruble is the first.