China-Russia trade is expected to hit a new high of an estimated $140 billion in 2021, China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said on Thursday, while experts noting better cross-border links will facilitate close bilateral ties.
China remained Russia’s largest trading partner for the 12th consecutive year, with bilateral trade hitting a new high in the first 11 months of $130.43 billion, a year-on-year increase of 33.6 percent and 2.3 percentage points higher than China’s average foreign trade growth, Shu Jueting, a spokesperson for MOFCOM, said at a press conference.
The China-Russia trading structure has improved and new business forms are booming, Shu noted.
“Cross-border e-commerce cooperation between China and Russia has developed rapidly, with the construction of warehouses and e-commerce platforms in Russia making steady progress to contribute to the sustained growth of bilateral trade,” the spokesperson said.
Customs data showed that China-Russia trade in the first 11 months exceeded the level for all of last year. China’s exports to Russia stood at 384.49 billion yuan ($60.36 billion), an increase of 21.9 percent, while imports from Russia reached 458.92 billion yuan, up 25.9 percent.
The economies of the two countries are highly complementary, with Russia rich in minerals and energy reserves and China advantageous in mineral processing, Song Kui, president of the Contemporary China-Russia Regional Economy Research Institute, told the Global Times on Thursday.
The soon-to-open China-Russia highway bridge, which spans the Heilongjiang River, will take bilateral trade to a new stage, Song said.
In the next step, China will continue to work closely with Russia to consolidate the trade of bulk commodities such as energy, minerals, agriculture and forestry, and expand new growth points in the digital economy, biomedicine, as well as cross-border e-commerce and services trade, Shu noted.
According to the customs data, energy and mineral products accounted for more than 70 percent of China’s imports from Russia, with significant increases in coal and natural gas.
From January to November, China imported 298.72 billion yuan worth of energy products from Russia, an increase of 44.2 percent, and imports of metal ore hit 26.57 billion yuan, an increase of 21.7 percent.
Imports of crude oil totaled 232.81 billion yuan, up 30.9 percent, and imports of coal totaled 41.79 billion yuan, up 171.3 percent. Imports of natural gas rose 74.8 percent to 24.12 billion yuan and imports of iron ore rose 2.6 percent to 9.61 billion yuan.
From January to November, China exported 235.32 billion yuan worth of mechanical and electrical products to Russia, an increase of 28.9 percent, due to increased exports of auto parts, machinery equipment, and labor-intensive products.