The trade turnover between Russia and China in 2022 grew by 29.3%, to $190 billion, which set a new record in bilateral cooperation. In the current year, further strengthening of trade relations between Moscow and Beijing can be expected, said Ilya Lozhkin, representative of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in China.
In 2022, Chinese GDP growth was only 3%, which was the worst performance since 1976, not counting the pandemic 2020. Among the main reasons for the "subsidence" of the Chinese economy, according to Lozhkin, should be attributed to the massive anti-coronavirus restrictions observed last year throughout the PRC. In particular, the lockdown in the "heart" of the Chinese economy - Shanghai - lasted more than two months, as a result of which most micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises in the metropolis were on the verge of bankruptcy.
Meanwhile, after the abolition of the “zero tolerance” policy for COVID-19 since the beginning of this year, the first signs of a “revival” of the Chinese economy have been observed. Enterprises are working at full capacity, all service facilities are functioning, foreign businessmen are appearing in the country, who have almost not been observed over the past three years. Domestic tourism is being restored, which is an important element in maintaining national demand. Foreign tourists are also expected to return to the country in the near future. In general, it can be predicted that the growth of the Chinese economy in 2023 will exceed last year's mark and will be in the range from 4.5 to 5.5%, the representative of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in China noted.
Special attention, according to him, deserves the strengthening of Russian-Chinese trade and economic cooperation. Thus, the trade turnover between the countries in 2022 increased to $190 billion, as a result, the positive balance of the Russian Federation almost tripled compared to 2021, to $38 billion.
“In 2023, further strengthening of trade ties between Moscow and Beijing can be expected. The Chinese market still has a number of niches that are still inaccessible to Russian exporters, but very promising, for example, the supply of pork. In general, the majority of domestic products, previously sent mainly to the European market, with a competent marketing approach, can be sold in the Chinese direction. For Chinese suppliers, the prospects for strengthening their positions in entire sectors of the Russian market are opening up. First of all, we are talking about cars, household appliances and electronics,” Lozhkin said.
The driver for the growth of business cooperation between Moscow and Beijing in 2023 will be the abolition of quarantine restrictions on entry into the PRC, which have been in force since the beginning of 2020. Thus, the representative office of the Chamber in Shanghai is already registering requests from domestic entrepreneurs who want to make a business trip to China in order to negotiate with counterparties , personal inspection of production facilities and assessment of the quality of products, etc.
At the same time, there is an increase in the interest of Chinese businessmen in major business events taking place in Russia in 2023, in particular, international exhibitions based on the Expocentre Fairgrounds.
“In general, it can be predicted that the goal set by the leaders of the two countries to bring trade to $200 billion by 2024 will probably be achieved this year,” Lozhkin is convinced.
It should be noted that the key trading partners for China in the near future, in addition to Russia, are likely to be the countries of Central Asia and ASEAN, trade with which in 2022 increased by 45% and 15%, respectively. At the same time, one should expect a drop in the pace of China's interaction with the US and the EU, trade with which over the past year has grown by only 1 and 2%, respectively. This can be facilitated by both a reduction in consumer demand in these countries against the backdrop of an energy crisis, inflation and an impending recession, as well as increased political contradictions, especially between Beijing and Washington.