The Strengthening Trade Partnership between China and Russia

The Strengthening Trade Partnership between China and Russia

China and Russia have recently achieved a significant milestone in their economic relationship, with two-way trade between the two countries reaching $240 billion in 2023, according to Chinese customs data. This record-breaking figure reflects their efforts in bolstering economic ties, despite the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and Western sanctions on Russia.

China has emerged as a vital economic lifeline for Russia, which heavily relies on the export of energy resources. As Western brands withdrew from the Russian market, Moscow turned to China as a key buyer of its goods, including automobiles and smartphones. In fact, Chinese shipments to Russia saw a substantial increase of 46.9% in 2023 compared to the previous year, and a staggering 64.2% compared to 2021, before the Russia-Ukraine war.

Chinese imports of Russian oil and petroleum products have played a crucial role in strengthening their trade partnership. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak revealed that half of Russia’s oil and petroleum exports in 2023 were destined for China. This high demand for energy resources from China has enabled Russia to mitigate the impact of Western sanctions and maintain a steady inflow of revenue.

Leaders and officials from both China and Russia have engaged in numerous bilateral discussions, emphasizing their unlimited potential for partnership. Chinese Ambassador to Russia, Zhang Hanhui, stated that Beijing intends to expand energy cooperation with Russia across all stages of production. This commitment signifies the long-term aims of both countries to further enhance their economic alliance.

In response to Western sanctions, Russia has increasingly turned to Chinese yuan payments for its imports. This demonstrates Russia’s efforts to reduce its reliance on the US dollar and European currencies, which have been subject to sanctions. Moreover, China has reciprocated this shift by utilizing the yuan in its purchases of Russian commodities. The customs data showed that the value of two-way trade between China and Russia in yuan terms stood at 1.69 trillion yuan ($235.90 billion) in 2023, a notable increase of 32.7% compared to the previous year.

The growing trade partnership between China and Russia, highlighted by the record-breaking two-way trade of $240 billion in 2023, showcases the resilience and determination of both countries amidst challenging geopolitical circumstances. By strengthening economic ties, diversifying payment options, and expanding energy cooperation, China and Russia are solidifying their economic alliance and reaping the benefits of this mutually beneficial relationship.


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