China sees biggest trade increase with Russia in 2023, Chinese customs data shows


Bilateral trade between Russia and China totaled more than $93.8 billion from January to May in 2023, a 40.7% increase compared to the same period last year, data from China’s General Administration of Customs showed.

The data published on Wednesday also showed that China’s exports to Russia have reached $42.96 billion since January 2023, a 75.6% increase compared to 2022. The numbers of total trade values and total exports have seen their biggest jumps since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with Russia becoming China’s fastest-growing trade partner in the world.

Russia has been hit by unprecedented Western sanctions since it invaded Ukraine and has been shut out of much of the global economy.

But China, which has declared “no limits” to its friendship with its northern neighbor, has thrown the Kremlin an economic lifeline, tempering the impact of its banishment from the global financial system.

Trade between China and other countries or regions have mostly fallen compared to last year. Taiwan, South Korea, New Zealand, and the US saw the biggest decrease across the globe, with Taiwan shrinking its trade with China by more than 25 percent. Trade between the United States also shrank by 12.3 percent.

Last month, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said he expected trade between Russia and China would exceed $200 billion in 2023, CNN reported.

China’s Premier Li Qiang met with Mishustin in Beijing in May and said the country was willing to work with Russia to promote their pragmatic cooperation in various fields and take it to a “new level,” according to Reuters.

Mishustin, meanwhile, said the two governments are making a “coordinate effort” to implement the agreements reached between China’s leader Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin in their March meeting to a “supreme level,” according to Russian state news agency TASS.

CNN’s Laura He contributed to this report.