Russia-China Bilateral Trade Up 30.9% in 2021

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Russo-Chinese trade turnover from January to October 2021 grew by 30.9% year on year, reaching US$115.66 billion, China’s General Customs Administration reported on Sunday. That indicates a predicted 2021 total trade turnover of about US$140 billion for the year.

Chinese exports to Russia increased 30.6%, to about US$52.9 billion in value during the first ten months of 2021, while Chinese imports of Russian goods and services to China grew by 31.2%, to US$62.76 billion.

Last month, October, trade volume reached US$13 billion. These fundamentals are on an upward trend with bilateral trade now higher than it was prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, when 2019 trade reached US$110.75 billion. Both countries have stated that bilateral trade should reach US$200 billion by 2024. That goal looks increasingly likely.

However, border transit remains a problem with Chinese authorities asking Russia to examine logistical bottlenecks on the Russian side. Crossing procedures introduced by Beijing at the height of the pandemic last year require that all trucks crossing into China drop their empty trailers for loading on the Chinese side and return to Russia, then go back to pick up the loaded vehicle.

Russia requires that the trailer be picked up by the same truck which took it to the border. This means that one truck must cross the border four times, which has led to long lines at the border crossing terminals, reportedly numbering up to 1,000 trucks at any time.

Russia has been asked to revise how trucks with trailers cross the border, as idle time brings daily losses and affects transportation costs and have asked Russia to change to a cargo transportation system such as at a checkpoint between China and Kazakhstan in Xinjiang, which allows any truck to pick up a loaded trailer.

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