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China-Russia trade hits record high in 2021 amid stronger energy cooperation: Russian envoy

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, logistic hurdles and other challenges, trade between China and Russia in 2021 bucked the trend by jumping 35 percent year-on-year to $147 billion, exceeding the pre-pandemic level in 2019 and reaching a record high, Russian and Chinese officials said.

Rising bulk commodity prices and energy consumption drove the trade growth against the backdrop of China’s booming demand for energy and the high complementarity of the two countries on trade, a trend that both diplomatic and business representatives believe would be further strengthened in 2022.

Speaking at an annual press conference in Beijing on Tuesday, Russian Ambassador to China Andrey Denisov said that the rising prices of some key tradable commodities such as energy – accounting for 30 percent of total exports – were the major drivers for growth.

While China’s energy demand witnessed a rising trend amid the consumption recovery for both the domestic and global market as well as the country’s embrace of green energy, cooperation on LNG has piggybacked on the new level with more projects.

In 2021, China and Russia carried out extensive and rapid cooperation in LNG, and the two countries are maintaining close communication on natural gas cooperation. Such cooperation is expected to further boost trade with new transmission lines to be established soon.

While China’s demand for natural gas from Russia continues to expand, Russia will also further expand coal and power supply to China, the envoy said.

In addition to traditional energy resources like oil, cooperation in some new sectors like LNG and nuclear energy has picked up, Li Ziguo, a senior research fellow with the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times on Tuesday, predicting that the share of energy in trade in 2022 should further increase to more than 35 percent.

The trade growth is the result of the political guarantee established by the high-level mutual trust and friendly relations between China and Russia as well as the economic guarantee provided by the complementary and mutually beneficial industrial resources of both sides, Gao Qi, Chief Representative of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade in Russia, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

In 2022, trade exchanges between China and Russia in areas such as energy, electromechanical and agriculture will continue to grow, while economic cooperation in high-tech, aerospace technology, nuclear energy technology, e-commerce and other fields is expected to accelerate, Gao said.

Russia is China’s largest source of energy imports, the second largest source of crude oil imports, and the largest source of electricity imports, while China is Russia’s largest trading partner, according to media reports.
Source: Global Times

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