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Putin Wants Asia To Account For 40 Percent Of Russia's Trade

President Vladimir Putin says Russia hopes to sharply increase trade with Asian nations and diversify its exports to the region.

Western sanctions and tension with Europe over the Ukraine crisis have lent urgency to Russia's efforts to boost trade with Asia.

Putin made a pitch for Asian investment in Russia during an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.

Trade with Asia-Pacific countries "currently makes up over a fourth of overall Russian trade turnover," Putin said on November 10. "In the future, we are planning to bring this share up to 40 percent."

He said Russia is "taking specific steps to broaden the geography of our exports and raise the proportion of nonenergy and high-tech goods."

The European Union has long been Russia's biggest trading partner, with Russia sending about half its exports to the EU in recent years.

Based on reporting by Interfax