China-Russia trade hits record $100 billion with more gains forecast
Published: Jan 10, 2019 09:33 PM

Russian freight cars containing timber in Suifenhe, a major Chinese border city with Russia, on September 26, 2018 Photo: IC

Bilateral trade between China and Russia last year exceeded $100 billion as of mid-December, a new record, official figures showed Thursday, and an analyst forecast further increases in high-technology trade and e-commerce this year.

Bilateral trade grew 27.8 percent year-on-year in the first 11 months of 2018 to $97.24 billion, Gao Feng, spokesperson of China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), told a press conference on Thursday. 

Projects that China and Russia have been cooperating on include nuclear power and other energy sectors, as well as the aviation industry, Gao said. 

China remains Russia's largest trading partner. In the first 11 months of last year, bilateral trade in electronic products and the high-technology sector increased 15 percent and 29 percent, respectively, according to MOFCOM.

Trade in agricultural products increased by 31 percent, Gao said.

Cooperation involving strategic large projects achieved remarkable results. Emerging fields such as nuclear energy and aerospace have also increased rapidly, Gao noted.

In 2019, bilateral trade is expected to further increase provided that there is a relatively stable world economy. The high-technology sector and e-commerce can be especially fast-growing given their rapid development in both countries, Li Xin, director of the Russian Center for Central Asian Studies at the Shanghai Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times on Thursday. 

Li added that some traditional industries, such as energy, could witness a decrease in total trade as international fuel prices decline. 

The expansion in China-Russia trade in 2018 was largely due to stable international economic growth and a closer bilateral relationship, rather than a consequence of the China-US trade dispute, Li said. 

Both countries have introduced policies encouraging trade cooperation, and these policies have clearly borne fruit, Li said. 

However, the US-China trade conflict, which is hitting global confidence, could potentially play havoc with the world economy including trade between China and Russia if it escalates further in 2019, according to Li.