China-Russia economic ties thrive on all fronts; bilateral trade volume projected to reach new heights in 2024
Bilateral cooperation a significant boost to regional, global economy
Published: May 15, 2024 10:00 PM
Chinese tourists visit the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia on February 26, 2023. Photo: VCG

Chinese tourists visit the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia on February 26, 2023. Photo: VCG

China's and Russia's economic and trade cooperation has been thriving on all fronts despite global challenges, and it is expected that the two countries could see further improvement in their bilateral trade structure this year, with trade volume projected to reach new heights, driven by new growth points in the agricultural and new-energy industries, business representatives and industry insiders said.

The comment was made ahead of Russian President Vladimir Putin's upcoming visit to China, which will run from Thursday to Friday. With the top-level visit as a catalyst, the two neighbors will also hold a series of trade promotion activities aimed at consolidating and further elevating their economic ties. 

The burgeoning engagements are built upon the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era. These moves will also offer a significant boost to regional and global economic stability, analysts said. 

Before the highly anticipated two-day trip, Putin stated in a written interview with the Xinhua News Agency on Wednesday that the rapid development of Russia-China trade relations has demonstrated strong immunity to external challenges and crises.

"I believe that Russian-Chinese economic ties have great prospects," Putin said.

China's Foreign Ministry confirmed on Tuesday that Putin will pay a state visit to China from Thursday to Friday - the first state visit since his new term as president began. During the visit, the leaders of both countries will exchange views on bilateral relations, cooperation in various fields, and international and regional issues of mutual interest, in light of the 75th anniversary of China-Russia diplomatic relations.

The eighth China-Russia Expo, the highest-level and most extensive exhibition hosted by the two countries, is set to start in Harbin, Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, on Thursday and run until May 21. 

Meanwhile, the "Russia E-commerce Day," aiming to boost bilateral economic and cultural exchanges through digital consumption, kicked off on Wednesday.

In recent years, China-Russia trade ties have been notably favorable. The coming top-level visit will strengthen cooperation on the business level to a greater extent, Zeng Aiguo, chairman of the Sichuan Chamber of Commerce for Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

"Thanks to policy support, our business with Russia has steadily advanced over the past few years, yielding significant progress across multiple sectors such as agriculture, energy, machinery, electronics and vehicle components," Zeng said.

Zeng revealed that the chamber will seek more business opportunities in its traditionally advantageous fields and expand cooperation in other potential areas such as agriculture and finance during the China-Russia Expo, which he will participate in.

The two economies are highly complementary and promising. With an ongoing trade structure optimization, both sides are seeing robust growth in traditional sectors such as energy, agriculture and tourism, while also intensifying their focus on the highly anticipated new-energy vehicles and high-tech fields, Li Xin, director of the Center for Russian and Central Asia Studies at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

In the first quarter, China-Russia trade stood at $56.68 billion, a 5.2 percent year-on-year increase, maintaining its positive upward trend. This follows a milestone in 2023, when bilateral trade reached $240.1 billion, surpassing the $200 billion trade target ahead of schedule, according to China's Ministry of Commerce.

Official data also indicated an improving trade structure, particularly in emerging sectors like services and cross-border e-commerce, showcasing the continuous progress and optimistic outlook of the two countries' trade ties.

Meanwhile, China's action plan to revitalize its northeast region aligns with Russia's push for Far East Development, which "is foreseen to fundamentally alter the economic development paradigm in Northeast Asia and stimulate economic growth across East Asia and even globally," Li said.

China-Russia comprehensive cooperation, defying the odds and growing despite heightened external pressure and unilateral Western sanctions, stands as a robust response to global challenges and sets a positive example for collaboration among other nations and regions, Zhang Hong, a senior research fellow at the Institute of Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

China and Russia could see further improvement in their bilateral trade structure in 2024, with the volume projected to reach new heights, Chen Zhigang, director-general of the Russian-Chinese Business Park in St. Petersburg, Russia, told the Global Times.