Officials from both countries meet to discuss trade issues
With China and Russia pledging to deepen bilateral trade and investment cooperation, government officials and experts said economic ties between the two countries will be bolstered by dedicated collaboration across various sectors, including automotive, trade in services and other emerging fields.
At the 26th meeting of the China-Russia Economic and Trade Cooperation Sub-committee — a regular meeting on economic and trade issues between the two sides — in Beijing in mid-September, Chinese and Russian officials discussed topics ranging from the scale of local currency settlement to the capacity of goods transfer through ports.
Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao and Russian Minister of Economic Development Maksim Reshetnikov engaged in comprehensive discussions regarding vital aspects of their bilateral economic and trade collaboration and made corresponding preparations for the 27th meeting of the commission and regular meetings between the Chinese premier and Russian prime minister.
Wang emphasized the importance of deepening trade and investment cooperation between China and Russia and stressed the need to upgrade cross-border connectivity, enhance communication and coordination within multilateral frameworks, and ensure those efforts fully support high-level exchanges and meetings between the two countries.
Reshetnikov said both sides would work diligently toward increasing the capacity of port goods transfer, expanding the utilization of local currency settlement and promoting sustained and stable development of economic and trade cooperation.
Boosted by their complementary trade structures and strengthened economic connections, China and Russia saw their trade value surge by 29.3 percent year-on-year to $190.27 billion in 2022, data from China's General Administration of Customs showed. Their trade has demonstrated robust growth momentum during the period spanning January to August this year, jumping 32 percent on a yearly basis to reach a total value of $155.1 billion.
Metal, crude oil, natural gas, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment and agricultural and chemical products are Russia's main shipments to China according to customs statistics. Meanwhile, China exports mainly steel, electronics, construction machinery, manufacturing equipment, textiles, garments and household appliances to Russia. Chinese-made passenger vehicles have also become popular in the country in recent years.
Benefiting from closer business ties between the two countries, Russian automaker Avtotor announced in June it started manufacturing Chinese counterpart BAIC Group's BJ40 off-roader at its Kaliningrad plant, according to Russia's TASS news agency. The company has produced several off-roaders for tests, with preparations for the launch of mass production nearing completion. Avtotor started to assemble cars from China's State-owned BAIC in April 2023, with the BAIC X35 and U5 Plus models the first assembled at the plant. The company plans to launch the production of seven models of the brand by the end of this year.
"Chinese vehicles used to be seen merely as modes of transport, so local customers wanted to buy them as cheaply as possible. But we are now moving upward with our competitive new generation products," said Patrick Yang, general manager of BAIC International Development. Yang said the average price for BAIC's passenger vehicles sold overseas will rise to $14,000 this year from about $12,000 in 2022.