Russia and China Set to Achieve Record $200 Billion Trade Level, Boosting Economic Ties Amidst Western Isolation.
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, during his visit to China, announced that trade between Russia and China is expected to reach an all-time high of $200 billion this year. The surge in economic cooperation comes as Russia faces increasing isolation from the West due to sanctions imposed in response to its conflict with Ukraine.
Western sanctions have severely limited Russia’s access to the global economy, making China a crucial economic lifeline. China, which has expressed unwavering friendship toward its northern neighbor, has helped alleviate the impact of Russia’s exclusion from the global financial system.
In 2022, bilateral trade between Russia and China soared by nearly 30%, reaching a record $190 billion, largely driven by Chinese purchases of Russian energy resources. This year, trade between the two countries continued to surge, growing by 41% in the first four months, according to Chinese customs data.
During a speech at the China-Russia business forum in Shanghai, Mishustin stated, “I believe that this year we will be able to achieve the goals set by the two countries’ leaders and bring the total trade to $200 billion.” This achievement would be one year ahead of the timeline established by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese Leader Xi Jinping in 2019.
Mishustin emphasized that energy cooperation with China remains Russia’s top priority. Furthermore, discussions between Mishustin and China’s Premier Li Qiang focused on enhancing pragmatic cooperation across various fields and advancing the bilateral relationship.
According to Chinese customs data, Russia has surpassed Saudi Arabia as China’s largest supplier of crude oil since February. Additionally, plans for the Power-of-Siberia 2 pipeline are underway, aiming to deliver more Russian gas to China via Mongolia. While the project has not been finalized, Putin confirmed in March that all agreements needed to complete the pipeline had been reached, with Russia expected to deliver at least 98 billion cubic meters of gas to China by 2030.
Alexander Novak, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister, indicated that Russia’s energy supply to China could increase by approximately 40% this year. The $200 billion trade milestone also implies an increase in China’s purchase of agricultural products from Russia and the production of more cars by Chinese companies within Russia.
Financial cooperation between the two countries will be further strengthened, as noted by Mishustin. Andrey Kostin, CEO of Russia’s state bank VTB, highlighted that Russia’s central bank has accumulated yuan and facilitated yuan-ruble transactions for over 70% of the bilateral trade between Russia and China.