(Yicai Global) March 22 -- The value of trade between China and Russia will likely reach the annual target of USD200 billion this year, 12 months ahead of schedule.
In 2019, China and Russia set the goal of achieving bilateral trade of USD200 billion by 2024. But as Chinese companies are filling the gap in the Russian market after European and North American firms withdrew, the goal may be reached as soon as this year.
China-Russia trade jumped 29.3 percent to USD190.3 billion last year from 2021, according to statistics from China's commerce ministry. The world's second-largest economy remained Russia's biggest trading partner for the 13th consecutive year.
Chinese demand for agricultural produce, timber, seafood, and chemical fertilizers from Russia is increasing together with Russia's imports of electronics, electromechanical equipment, and daily consumer goods from China, said Wei Jinshen, associate professor at Lanzhou University's School of Politics and International Relations.
On top of high-quality farm produce, China's electromechanical products, such as cars and numerically-controlled machine tools, and home appliances, including fridges, freezers, and washing machines, are becoming the new growth points in China-Russia trade, according to He Zhenwei, president of the China Overseas Development Association.
Chinese firms have begun to tap into the Russian market of numerically-controlled machine tools, which Japanese and German companies monopolized for a long time before the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The performance of China-made numerically-controlled machine tools is basically the same as those of Japanese and German firms, but there is probably a gap in technology and services,” He said. “Chinese companies can fill the gap in the Russian market.”
Russia imported about 117,000 passenger vehicles from China last year, up 40 percent from 2021, Xinhua New Agency reported, adding that China has become the main source of Russia's imported cars. Some 487 showrooms selling Chinese cars opened in Russia last year alone. Chery Automobile, Geely Automobile Holdings, Great Wall Motor's Haval, and JAC Group are the most popular among Russian consumers.
Moreover, Russian chocolate, ice cream, bread, and honey have garnered many Chinese admirers in recent years. Russian vodka, bread, cookies, and pickled cucumber have become top sellers at Beijing Eryoupin Technology's online and offline stores for imported Russian products.
With regard energy, always a main area of trade between China and Russia, He told Yicai Global that a delegation from Yakutian Railway, an affiliate of Russian Railways, recently asked the CODA to build a line linking the Russian republic of Sakha with Mohe, a county-level city in China's northeastern Heilongjiang province to transport local coal and mineral resources to China.
“The transport capacity of Russia's existing ports is limited,” He said. “As the Chinese market's demand is huge, the counterpart wishes to increase imports to China by building new railroads.”
Russia's natural gas supply to China via the China-Russia East-Route natural gas pipeline hit a record 15.5 billion cubic meters last year, according to Russian data. By 2025, the figure is expected to hit the designated production capacity of 38 billion cubic meters a year.
Editors: Liao Shumin, Futura Costaglione