Cargo traffic via Russia-China border hits record high in January
Trade between Russia and China keeps on increasing despite the increasing efforts by the West to marginalize both economies.
Cargo traffic through the Zabaykalsk-Manchuria border crossing on the Russian-Chinese border saw record-high levels in January, the Russian Consulate General in Harbin said on Saturday.
According to the top diplomat, mutual trade between the two countries is expected to grow even more in light of easing Covid-19 restrictions in China.
"The start of the year saw a record-high volume of cargo traffic through the Russian-Chinese border. According to [China] Railway Harbin [Group], around 1.5 million tonnes of cargo were transported through the Zabaykalsk-Manchuria railway border crossing during the first month of 2023, which is by 82.9% more than in January last year," the consulate general said on Telegram.
The consulate added that coal exports from Russia to China had doubled in January year on year, with around 10,000 tonnes of coal delivered daily to the Manchuria railway station. The supplies of Russia's fertilizers via the border crossing had increased by 41% ahead of the start of the agricultural season, the mission added.
The Zabaykalsk-Manchuria railway border crossing is the largest transport hub on the Russian-Chinese border. Last year, as many as 15 million tonnes of cargo crossed this checkpoint.
Trade is expected to boom because the Chinese government started in December to gradually ease its "zero tolerance" policy toward Covid after it negatively impacted the world economy, supply chains, tourism, and intergovernmental exchanges.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said during talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping in late December that despite Western sanctions and blackmail, economic turnover between Russia and China has reached historic highs, adding that the objective of increasing trade volumes to $200 billion would be met ahead of time.
In a video call, as broadcast by the Rossiya 24 TV channel, the Russian President said, "Despite the unfavorable external environment, illegitimate restrictions, and certain Western countries' direct blackmail, Russia and China managed to ensure record high rates of mutual trade turnover growth."
He added that trade turnover "increased by around 25%" and that such dynamics would allow the two countries to "achieve the goal level of $200 billion by 2024."
Furthermore, Putin assured that Moscow is keen to ramp up its military cooperation with China, hailing the two countries' efforts to counter "unprecedented Western pressure and provocations."
At a conference co-hosted by the Society of Russian-Chinese Friendship and the Russian-Chinese Business Council, the deputy head of Russia's Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Vladimir Padalka, said in December that trade between Russia and China in 2022 is expected to amount to an unprecedented $220 billion soon.
"Our investment projects are totaling about a hundred. They give us hope that trade between Russia and China may reach some $220 billion soon," Padalka said, adding he expressed concern over a rise in illegal trafficking of knockoff goods to the regions on the border with China.
"We will bring this up with the customs and other agencies so that we can prevent trade in counterfeit products and other gray schemes that allow goods to be trafficked either way," he said.
By the end of 2022, the Russian customs agency forecasts that trade between the two countries will increase to $170 billion.
Between the months of January and November 2022, trade was up by more than a quarter compared to the year before.