China Claims Trade with Russia Jumped 30% in First Half of 2022

A cargo ship loaded with containers makes its way at a port in Qingdao in China's eastern
STR/AFP via Getty Images

China’s trade with Russia from January to July increased by nearly 30 percent from the same period last year to reach $97.71 billion, China’s state-run Global Times reported Sunday.

China’s General Administration of Customs released new data on August 7 showing that Beijing’s trade with Moscow rose by 29 percent in the first seven months of 2022 compared to the same time frame in 2021.

Detailing the development on Sunday, the Global Times wrote:

Statistics show that in July, the trade volume between China and Russia came in at $16.79 billion. Among them, China’s exports to Russia amounted to $6.77 billion, while China’s imports from Russia amounted to $10.01 billion, both expanding from June.

China’s exports to Russia expanded 5.2 percent to $36.27 billion, widening from the 2.1 percent during the January-June period. China’s imports from Russia grew 48.8 percent from a year earlier to $61.44 billion in the first seven months.

The state customs data further demonstrated that China imported 247 billion yuan ($36.5 billion) worth of oil, mineral fuels, and asphalt products from Russia within the first six months of 2022. During the same period, China exported 77 billion yuan ($11.4 billion) worth of mechanical and electrical products to Russia.

The Associated Press

Driverless vehicles move shipping containers at a port in Qingdao in eastern China’s Shandong Province, on Jan. 6, 2022. China’s exports rose 15.7% in March, 2022, over a year earlier while imports were flat due to disruptions from coronavirus outbreaks. (Chinatopix via AP, File)

While energy trade appears to account for much of Beijing and Moscow’s economic cooperation, the two parties have recently ramped up efforts to exchange more in the agriculture and “new-energy vehicle” industries, according to Song Kui, who serves as president of the Contemporary China-Russia Regional Economy Research Institute.

Song told the Global Times on August 7 that “escalating sanctions from the West” have likewise pushed Moscow to expand its exports to China over the past five months. He referred to a raft of Washington-led financial sanctions imposed on Russian companies and entities starting on February 24 that continues to expand today. The campaign serves as the West’s economic response to Russia’s latest war with neighboring Ukraine, which began on February 24. The sanctions affect both specific Russian targets and the traditional payment and settlement systems that those entities rely on to conduct relevant business transactions. Moscow has skirted the sanctions’ secondary effects by settling foreign trade payments in either its own currency, the ruble, or those of other countries, such as China’s yuan.

“The pursuing of local currency settlements in trade between China and Russia also provides more convenience for traders between the two countries to stabilize foreign trade and avoid US dollar hegemony,” Song told the Global Times on Sunday, referring to the U.S. dollar serving as the basis for most major international trade settlement.

A representative for the China-based Purefine Wood Trade Agency told the Global Times on June 21 that the company was “importing wood from Russia and basically using yuan or ruble settlement instead of using US dollars.”

“Most of our member companies are using the yuan for cross-border trade settlements instead of US dollars or other currencies, because yuan settlement is much faster and more practical,” a manager for the Russian Asian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs surnamed Wang told the newspaper at the time.


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