"In 2018, trade between China and Russia has for the first time surpassed the $100 billion mark. In the first half of the current year the volume of bilateral trade amounted to $51.77 billion, having increased by 5.1 percent in comparison to the same period of last year. It is expected that the annual trade volume based on the good results of 2018 will once again make a breakthrough. In that respect, I am fully confident in achieving the goal set by the heads of the two states – to bring the volume of bilateral trade to $200 billion a year," Zhang said.
He stressed that in the near future, Russia and China could start optimising the trade structure in several areas, particularly in what concerned large-scale projects, such as the Yamal gas project, as well as infrastructure initiatives.
"The eastern branch of the Russian-Chinese gas pipeline [within the Yamal LNG project with the participation of Petrochina] is forecast to be put into operation by the end of this year. The [Russian-Chinese high-tech] Greenwood international trading centre in Moscow and other projects are successfully developing. Both sides must seize these favourable opportunities to create a basis and a framework for cooperation," Zhang added.
According to the Chinese ambassador, strengthening mutual ties in the agriculture and transport sectors will create "better conditions for bilateral trade ties and regional cooperation." He mentioned the Belt and Road Initiative as one of the key areas of cooperation.
Zhang also emphasised the importance of using various cooperation mechanisms, such as intergovernmental commissions on investment, energy and humanitarian cooperation.
The most recent statistical data from the Chinese General Administration of Customs (GAC) suggests that Russia-China trade for the first eight months of 2019 saw a 4.5 percent increase year-on-year. China’s export to Russia from January to August was $31.1 billion, same as last year, while Russia’s export to China grew 8.3 percent to $39.4 billion.
In 2018, trade between Russia and China surpassed the $100 billion threshold for the first time. According to the GAC data, trade was at $108.2 billion, with Russia’s exports to China totalling $56 billion, compared to China’s $52.2 billion.