A barge nears the Heihe port in Northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province as Heihe-Blagoveshchensk, Russia cross-border dry bulk cargo water transport began on June 12, 2022. Five barges with displacements of 1,000 tons and one with 600 tons took part. Due to weather conditions, the port is only accessible 240 days a year. Photo: VCG
Bilateral trade between China and Russia is maintaining growth momentum, and the two sides will continue to promote normal economic and trade exchanges and maintain the stability of industrial and supply chains, a spokesperson of China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said on Thursday.
In response to questions about the prospects of bilateral trade growth this year, Shu Jueting, a MOFCOM spokesperson, said at a press conference that the two countries will join hands to foster new growth engines, such as the digital economy, green development and biomedicine, and seek the improvement of both quality and quantity in bilateral trade.
In addition, the two will ramp up efforts to coordinate their epidemic prevention steps and customs clearance so as to ensure the normal movement of cargo through border ports, Shu said.
Except for a slight drop in 2020, bilateral trade recorded rapid growth in recent years. In 2021, bilateral trade stood at $146.87 billion, up 35.9 percent year-on-year, and China remained Russia’s largest trading partner for a twelfth consecutive year, according to data from MOFCOM.
In the first seven months of this year, bilateral trade totaled $97.71 billion, up 29 percent year-on-year.
It is believed that bilateral trade would hit a new high in 2022, Li Xin, director of the Institute for Eurasian Studies at the Shanghai University of Political Science and Law, told the Global Times on Thursday.
The two economies have high complementarity in terms of trade, such as oil and natural gas, as well as agricultural products, Li said.
He added that Russia has been tilting toward Asia in terms of trade due to European and other countries’ sanctions after the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
In addition to goods trade, there are fields where the two could enhance cooperation, including the stabilization of industrial chains and setting up of multilateral payment mechanisms, Li noted.
China and Russia have been building cross-border infrastructure in recent years to boost trade as well.
The first China-Russia highway bridge, which stretches from Heihe, a border city in Northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, to the Russian city of Blagoveshchensk spanning the Heilongjiang River, opened to traffic in June.
A freight train carrying 50 containers departed from Guangyuan, Southwest China’s Sichuan Province on Wednesday, heading for Saint Petersburg in Russia. The number of China-Europe freight trains heading to Russia has soared this year, laying the foundation for a surge of bilateral trade, media reports said.