Conversely, Russia is one of China’s most important energy suppliers. According to the Chinese customs authorities, the trade volume in goods has increased from around 84 billion US dollars in 2017 to almost 147 billion dollars in 2021. On the sidelines of the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February 2022, the two countries announced that they wanted to increase bilateral trade to 250 billion dollars by 2024.
However, the partnership is unequal, explained study author Sonja Beer. According to the latest figures from 2020, business with China accounted for around 18 percent of all Russian foreign trade. “This makes China by far the most important trading partner for Russia.” Conversely, Russia is not even one of China’s ten most important trading partners. In 2021, only 2.4 percent of Chinese trade volume came from transactions with Russia.
However, according to the study, Russia was able to increase its share in value of Chinese coal imports to over 26 percent in 2021, making it the second most important coal supplier. In 2020, Russia was also the second most important supplier of oil, accounting for a good 15 percent of all crude oil imports to China. “Russia is also Beijing’s third largest gas supplier,” it said.