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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Russia-China trade on pace to hit $200 billion this year

Economic cooperation between the two nations has been strengthening amid outside pressure

China’s trade with Russia has continued to rise, with both exports and imports jumping by double digits in the first two months of the year in annual terms, customs data shows.

According to a report published on Tuesday, sales to Russia surged 19.8% to a total of $15 billion, while imports rocketed by 31.3% to $18.65 billion. The numbers are on pace to hit over $200 billion in bilateral trade this year.

Read more: China-Russia ‘love affair’ will deepen: US intelligence

China’s trade with Russia hit a record high in 2022, growing by nearly a third amid Western sanctions against Moscow. According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the $200 billion turnover goal set by Moscow and Beijing for 2024 could be achieved earlier than expected.

Official statistics show that Russia was the leader among China’s 20 largest partners in terms of trade growth in 2022. China has been competing with India as Russia’s biggest buyer of oil, and has overtaken the EU as the top importer of Russian agricultural products.

The country’s seaborne imports of Russian oil are forecast to hit record high this month after refiners took advantage of cheap prices amid a domestic fuel demand rebound, following the lifting of Covid restrictions.

Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang told a news conference on Tuesday that Beijing should strengthen its relations with Moscow as the world becomes more turbulent.

Read more: Russia criticizes UN for taking Ukraine’s side on Nord Stream issue

Asked whether China and Russia could abandon the US dollar and euro for bilateral trade, Qin said that countries should use whatever currency is efficient, safe and credible. “Currencies should not be the trump card for unilateral sanctions, still less a disguise for bullying or coercion,” the diplomat stressed.