China-Russia Trade Breakdown and Future Development Trends

The increase in China – Russia trade is well acknowledged; however, details remain scarce as to the exact details. We provide a detailed breakdown and identify the coming trends – a US$400 billion bilateral trade potential and Russia’s developing use of China as a transit nation to markets in ASEAN.

China-Russia 2022 Bilateral Trade
The Main Customs Administration of China has summed up the results of 2022: For the first time in its history, Russia became one of China’s top ten trade partners, while for Russia, China has been the primary trade partner now for several years.

Their bilateral 2022 trade turnover increased year on year by 29.3%, reaching US$190.27 billion. Exports from Russia to China grew by 43.4% to US$114.15 billion, while exports from China to Russia increased by 12.8% to US$76.12 billion. This is a rare case of Chinese exports being the smaller in bilateral relations, in this case by a margin of US$28 billion.

These figures have also put the much-vaunted goal of reaching US$200 billion in trade by 2024 as being well ahead of schedule. During the first two months of 2023, Russia-China trade rose by 25.9%, reaching US$33.6 billion. If expanded across the full year with those same growth rates, that would indicate total Russia-China trade for 2023 achieving roughly about US$237 billion.

The 2022 result was made possible by a combination of two underlying factors. The first is the global changes in the foreign trade situation, provoked by the Ukraine situation and the introduction of anti-Russian sanctions by Western countries. The second is the subsequent price increase for energy resources (primarily oil and gas), which are the basis of Russian exports, following the sanctions.

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