In the first seven months of 2023, the volume of trade between Russia and China increased by 36.5% compared to the same period in 2022 and exceeded $134.1 billion, such data was presented on Tuesday, August 8, by the General Administration of Customs of the People's Republic of China.

According to the agency, from January to July, shipments of Russian products to the Asian republic increased by 15.1% - $ 71.56 billion, Beijing, meanwhile, increased sales of goods to Moscow immediately by 73.4% - up to $ 62.54 billion.

Earlier, the authorities of both countries agreed to bring mutual trade to $200 billion in 2024. However, taking into account the current dynamics, the intended goal may be significantly exceeded as early as 2023, experts are sure.

"We can expect that by the end of this year, the volume of Russian-Chinese trade will exceed $ 220 billion, and an increase in the share of settlements in national currencies can contribute to the growth of mutual trade," Natalia Milchakova, a leading analyst at Freedom Finance Global, suggested in a conversation with RT.

To date, more than 80% of trade transactions between Moscow and Beijing are carried out in rubles and yuan, although previously they used mainly dollars. According to Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, due to the systematic refusal of settlements in US currency, the parties want to minimize the risks of possible blocking of money by the West.

  • © Oleg Elkov

As the head of the Ministry of Finance noted, confidence in the dollar has been undermined, since the United States is manipulating its monetary unit, not only printing it in unlimited volumes, but also using it as a lever of pressure in foreign policy issues. In this regard, Russia, China and a number of other states increasingly prefer to pay each other with their own currencies.

"At the same time, I think that in the future the share of transactions in digital currencies will increase more and more. After all, the same China, for example, has already launched a digital yuan, and in Russia it is now planned to launch a digital ruble. These currencies are not subject to any restrictions and will act as a reliable means of payment as ordinary rubles, yuan and other banknotes in which we make payments today, "Siluanov noted in an interview with RT.

Circumventing sanctions

Russia has been steadily increasing trade ties with China for several years. Moreover, the process itself accelerated markedly last year after the introduction of unprecedented economic sanctions against Moscow by Western countries.

Against the backdrop of various trade restrictions on the part of the United States and the EU, as well as the withdrawal of many American and European companies from the Russian Federation in 2022, Russian-Chinese trade increased immediately by 29.3% and approached the level of $190.3 billion.

"Such a sharp increase in trade was quite expected, since in modern realities the PRC has become Russia's main trading partner. In addition, today many Chinese companies are actively replacing Western ones in our market, which also affects mutual trade, "Artem Deev, head of the analytical department at AMarkets, told RT.

It is noteworthy that in 2022, Russian exports to China grew several times faster than imports from China to the Russian Federation. However, today the opposite situation is already observed. According to Natalia Milchakova, Russia redirected a significant part of the supply of its goods to the Asian republic last year, while there is still a significant stock for the import of Chinese products to the Russian Federation.

"In such a short time, we have not yet been able to completely replace with our own production all those goods that we used to buy in the West. Therefore, at present, apparently, a bet has been made on replacing European and American products with goods from China, "the interlocutor of RT explained.

According to experts, today Chinese companies are actively supplying equipment, electronics, clothing and consumer goods to Russia. Moscow, meanwhile, is increasing sales of energy, food, metals and timber to the Asian republic.

It is noteworthy that in the first half of 2023, Russia became the main supplier of crude oil to China, ahead of Saudi Arabia. Moreover, according to Chinese customs, Moscow sells this energy resource to Beijing at an average of $ 73 per barrel, which is noticeably higher than the price ceiling set by the West - $ 60.

  • RIA Novosti
  • © Vitaliy Tymkiv

China, in turn, significantly increases its presence in the Russian car market. Thus, according to the analytic agency AUTOSTAT, over the past year, the share of sales of Chinese foreign cars in the Russian Federation has more than doubled and exceeded 50% for the first time in July.

Moreover, as noted by The Wall Street Journal, this year Russia came out on top among buyers of Chinese cars. This helped Beijing become the largest exporter of cars in the world.

Stimulus for the economy

It is curious that under the conditions of sanctions, many goods go from China to Russia not directly, but through third countries. Thus, according to the American Institute of International Finance, Beijing has recently increased its exports to Belarus, Kazakhstan, Georgia and Turkey, from where the products later enter the Russian Federation.

According to Natalia Milchakova, such an increase in cooperation with China will allow Russia to recover faster from sanctions losses. It should be noted that in 2022, against the backdrop of Western sanctions, the economy shrank by 2.1%, although initially a number of analysts predicted a more serious collapse. Already this year, the country's GDP may increase by 2.5%, the Central Bank did not rule out.

"The recovery phase of the development of the Russian economy as a whole has been completed. In the future, the growth rate of the economy will gradually approach the pace corresponding to the trajectory of balanced growth," the Central Bank said in a study.

At the same time, the volume of mutual trade between Russia and China will continue to grow steadily after 2023, the authorities are sure. As Vladimir Ilyichev, deputy head of the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, previously stated in an interview with RT, the new goal for trade turnover in the foreseeable future should be $ 300 billion.

"So far, there is a discussion about when it will be realistic to achieve this mark in terms of trade. According to our estimates, this could happen by 2030. At least, we will definitely set such a goal in our plans," Ilyichev emphasized.