The trade turnover between Russia and China by the end of 2023 will exceed the planned $200 billion, Vladimir Putin said during Russian-Chinese talks in Beijing. The President of the Russian Federation stressed that in the current difficult conditions, close foreign policy cooperation between the two countries has become especially in demand.

"You mentioned our goal, our goal of reaching $200 billion in trade this year. If you look at the year to the year (we analysed it last night), you will see that there is already $200 billion from today a year ago. And in terms of the calendar year, this bar will also definitely be overcome," Putin said.

According to Chinese President Xi Jinping, the volume of mutual trade between Moscow and Beijing has reached record levels. At the same time, both sides are working hard to achieve the goals set by the heads of state. Moreover, the political cooperation between the Russian Federation and the PRC is deepening every year, the Chinese leader stressed.

"In ten years, since 2013, Mr. President, we have held 42 meetings, established good business relations and strong personal friendship," Xi Jinping added.

It should be noted that in the first nine months of this year, the volume of trade between Russia and China increased by 29.5% compared to the same period in 2022 and exceeded $176.4 billion, according to the General Administration of Customs of the People's Republic of China.

According to the agency, from January to September, Beijing increased sales of goods to Moscow by 56.9% at once - up to $81.4 billion. Meanwhile, shipments of Russian products to the Asian republic increased by 12.7% - up to $95 billion. At the same time, if we do not take into account the states and territories of the Far East, the Russian Federation is in a higher place, Vladimir Putin emphasized.

"If we keep in mind that any country always has a larger trade turnover with neighboring countries (I mean South Korea and Japan), then among non-regional countries, we, in fact, occupy second place in trade with China after the United States, overtaking Germany in this indicator," Putin said at a press conference following his visit to Beijing.

  • © Thierry Dosogne

Against the backdrop of anti-Russian sanctions, Moscow has significantly deepened cooperation with Beijing in the energy sector. In particular, as Yuri Ushakov, Assistant to the President of the Russian Federation, noted the other day, Russia managed to significantly increase sales of the main types of energy raw materials to the Asian republic.

"The volume of Russian hydrocarbon supplies to China is increasing significantly. Russia is in first place among oil suppliers, second among pipeline gas suppliers and third in LNG," Ushakov said.

Russia also supplies timber and agricultural products, metals and mineral resources, and seafood to China. In addition to raw materials, Beijing buys large volumes of Russian agricultural products, primarily food, Vladimir Chernov, an analyst at Freedom Finance Global, told RT. According to him, a sharp increase in the supply of Russian pork to China is expected in the near future, since not so long ago Beijing lifted the ban on its import from the Russian Federation.

"The restrictions were in place for several years after the outbreak of African swine fever. China remains the world's largest importer of pork, and Russia occupies one of the leading positions in its production," the expert stressed.

In turn, Moscow buys electronics and microchips, engineering products and cars, household appliances and consumer goods, as well as clothing and footwear from Beijing. Alexander Razuvaev, a member of the Supervisory Board of the Guild of Financial Analysts and Risk Managers, spoke about this in an interview with RT. In his opinion, a fairly wide range of imported products is associated with the active phase of growth of the Russian economy.

"We are recovering: business is adapting to new conditions, and the demand among the population for various goods and services is increasing. Nevertheless, in the context of Western sanctions, we have limited access to foreign products, so now the necessary foreign goods for the domestic market mainly come from China," the analyst explained.

Bypassing the dollar

As the volume of mutual supplies increases, Russia and China seek to minimize settlements in American and European currencies and increasingly conduct transactions in rubles and yuan. According to the estimates of the Russian authorities, today the share of settlements in national currencies is at around 90%.

"This is mostly the yuan, but the ruble also plays an important role here," Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said in a commentary for the program "Moscow. Kremlin. Putin" on the Rossiya 1 channel.

Mutual trade in national currencies allows countries to reduce commission costs on currency conversions, Vladimir Chernov believes. A further reduction in the dollar and the euro in settlements should simplify money transfers, since in this case the funds will bypass the SWIFT cross-border payment system, to which Russia has been denied access. Moreover, with the help of such a maneuver, Moscow is redistributing its gold and foreign exchange reserves, the analyst added.

Trade in national currencies helps to avoid any control by Western countries, Alexander Razuvaev believes. According to him, the gradual transfer of all transactions in trade between the countries into rubles and yuan will make transactions safer and faster.

At the same time, China is trying to expand the use of its own currency in global trade. In September, for the first time in history, the yuan overtook the euro in settlements through SWIFT. In the first month of autumn, the share of the Chinese currency in global trade rose to a record 5.8%, according to data from the international interbank system.

"For Beijing, growing cooperation is beneficial, especially in terms of energy, since access to hydrocarbons at a low price stimulates the development of their industry and has a positive effect on GDP growth rates. Strengthening trade ties for Moscow makes it possible to recover faster from the consequences of sanctions and gain access to the necessary goods," Razuvaev concluded.