Trade between China and Russia grew by nearly a third in the first quarter of the year, Russian media report citing Chinese Customs data.
In the first three months of 2017, bilateral trade amounted to 18.1 billion. Chinese exports to Russia increased by 22.4 percent compared to the same period last year to 8.43 billion. Russian exports to China grew by 36.1 percent to 9.66 billion. In 2016, trade between Russia and China grew by 2.2 percent to 69.5 billion, as Chinese exports to Russia rose by 7.3 percent to 37.3 billion, while imports from Russia fell by 3.1 percent to 32.3 billion.
In an interview with the Sputnik news agency last month, Zhang Xiao, the deputy to the Chinese ambassador to Russia, said Beijing expects a breakthrough in trade between the countries this year.
"After a downturn in 2015 due to external factors, Russia-China trade returned to growth in 2016. Over the course of 2016, turnover between Russia and China reached 69.5 billion, a 2.2 percent increase against the previous year," Zhang Xiao said. While a 2.2 percent growth is not significant, it is very important considering the unfavorable conditions in the global economy and a decrease in Chinese foreign trade volumes, he said.
Besides trade, Russia and China also have a number of investment projects. The countries are jointly building the Power of Siberia gas pipeline and a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility on the Yamal Peninsula in the Russian Arctic. The countries are also working on a wide-body passenger jet to rival Airbus and Boeing and several other projects.