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China and Asia Pacific Business Trends

Political relations and historical ties between Beijing and Moscow translate into economic agreements, trade and investment.

Over the years, the trade volume between China and Russia has steadily increased, and according to Chinese Customs data dated January 15, 2022, the aggregate import and export trade between the two countries in 2021 grew by 35.8 percent with an increase higher than the delta of China's trade with the European Union (+27.5 percent) and the United States (+28.7 percent), and reached a total volume of $147 billion. Beijing has a negative trade balance with Russia and in 2021 imported $79 billion worth of goods from Moscow and exported $68 billion worth of goods.

The Asian and easternmost area of Russian territory has greater economic relations with China, influenced by geography, where Russia borders Xinjiang by 100 kilometers and Inner Mongolia and Heilongjiang by over 4,000 kilometers that include the city of Manzhouli, on the triple border between Russia, Mongolia, and China. Manzhouli is the main Sino-Russian trade center and an important rail freight transit port in trade with Central Asia and Europe in terms of volume of goods handled, accounting for 60 percent of the trade flow between Beijing and Eastern Europe.

According to Chinese customs data for the first eleven months of 2021, the energy and minerals sectors accounted for more than 70 percent of imports from Russia, with a significant increase in coal and natural gas trade. Crude oil imports registered a total volume of 233 billion yuan, up 31 percent, and coal imports registered a total value of 42 billion yuan, up 171 percent. Natural gas imports rose 75 percent to 24 billion yuan and iron ore imports increased 3 percent to about 10 billion yuan. China exported mechanical and electronic products worth 235 billion yuan to Russia, an increase of 29 percent.

Cross-border cooperation has also developed rapidly in the field of e-commerce, with the construction of warehouses and online platforms contributing to the growth of bilateral trade.

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