China-Russia trade merges into fast lane
The trade volume between China and Russia has seen an increase in recent years, and the trade structures have also been improved toward a more diversified products portfolio, including more high-tech products.
2019 marks the 70th anniversary since China and Russia established diplomatic ties, and the two countries are facing historic opportunities in furthering their cooperation in various aspects, according to Gao Feng, the spokesperson of MOFCOM at a press conference in January this year.
China is willing to work with Russia, together to push bilateral trade cooperation to the direction of larger scale, deeper level and higher quality, according to Gao.
Record-breaking 2018
The year 2018 is no doubt a banner for China-Russia trade, the trade volume had reached an all-time high of 108 billion U.S. dollars, the time it passed 100 billion U.S. dollars, soared nearly 30 percent, according to statistics from China's General Administration of Customs (GAC).
Russia ranks No.1 when it comes to trade growth dynamics, according to GAC. According to data from the International Monetary Fund, the spike in imports from Russia also made China swung to a bilateral deficit of 6.4 billion U.S. dollars.
In 2018, Russian imports of Chinese goods increased by 12 percent to 47.98 billion U.S. dollars, while China's imports from Russia grew by 42.7 percent, reaching 59.08 U.S. dollars, according to GAC.
Russia became China's 10th largest trading partner, made it to top 10 for the first time, and China remained a major trading partner for Russia after the European Union.
In terms of trade structure, China had mostly exported electromechanical goods to Russia and imported crude oil, coal, and wood from Russia.
The trade structure between China and Russia has also been optimized. Electromechanical and other various high-tech products trade increased by 15 percent and 29 percent respectively, the agricultural products trade increased by 31 percent. The two countries are also actively working to build new trade growth points, including e-commerce and service trade.
The two countries have also achieved significant progress in strategic projects cooperation in the areas, including new energy, nuclear, aerospace, cross-border infrastructure construction, arctic development, and the digital economy.
The exuberant trade between China and Russia also helped propelled Russia's economic growth reached a six-year high in 2018. Russia-China trade has grown significantly over recent years. In 2018, mutual trade amounted to 84.7 billion U.S. dollars demonstrating the growth of 20.8 percent. In 2016, the trade volume grew by 2.2 percent to 69.52 billion U.S. dollars.
A promising 2019
China-Russia trade is expected to reach a new level in terms of volume, extend and quality.
Trade between China and Russia reached 24.2 billion U.S. dollars in the first quarter of this year, up 9.8 percent compared with the same period last year, according to MOFCOM.
It is expected that bilateral trade between the two countries will keep momentum in 2019, according to Luo Weidong, director of Eurasian Affairs Department of the MOFCOM, at the China Tianjin International Fair for Investment and Trade.
Chinese investment in Russia has expanded to infrastructure construction, equipment manufacturing, oil and chemical industry, and information technology, Luo said.
Russian companies are eager to tap into the huge Chinese market. At the investment and trade fair which opened Thursday, 16 Russian companies brought their products to China, including food, beverages, grain, oil, and handicrafts.
Kozlovskaya L.M., head of a Russia export company, said her company had set up a duty-free shop in a city in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
"The shop is a channel for further bilateral cooperation and exchange," the Russian businesswoman said.