China-Russian Economic & Trade Index Launched

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by Chris Devonshire-Ellis 

The China-Russia (Harbin) economic and trade index report (2021) was officially released last week in Harbin, northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, near to the border with Russia.

The report, now in its third year, deals with the development of China-Russia trade, and reflects the trade volume between China and its regions with Russia in an all-round and multi-level manner. It analyzes and monitors the development level and trend of bilateral trade via a quantifiable index system.

Russia’ border with China is 4,209.3 kilometers long and consists of two non-contiguous sections separated: the long eastern section between Mongolia and North Korea (4,000km) and a shorter western section between Kazakhstan and Mongolia (209.3 km). There are 30 border crossings, of which the most important are the four railway border crossings:

Zabaikalsk/Manzhouli

This crossing is linked to both Beijing and Moscow and traverses the border at Zabaykalsk City (Zabaykalsk Krai) and Manzhouli (Inner Mongolia). It is an important freight route, transporting raw materials from Russia to China for processing.

Grodekovo/Suifenhe

This crossing links Harbin to Vladivostok Port via the Amur River crossing and onto the Trans-Siberian railway. It is an important route for landlocked Heilongjiang and Inner Mongolia to access the Pacific Ocean.

Kraskino/Hunchun

This crossing services China’s Jilin Province and feeds into Vladivostok and the Pacific Ocean via a crossing to Primorskiy Krai Oblast, near to the border with North Korea.

Nizhneleninskoye/Tongjiang

This route crosses the Amur (Heilongjiang) River further West from China’s Heilongjiang Province to Russia’s Jewish Autonomous Oblast and will open once the construction of the River bridge is completed, expected early 2022. A proposed cable car crossing and existing ferry services also service this route.

An important Amur River crossing is sited between Blagoveshchensk in Amur Oblast and Heihe, one of Heilongjiang’s most northern cities, with ferry services operating between the two cities.  All of these cities on both sides of the border are primary candidates for investment as Russia-Chinese bilateral trade is expected to double by 2024.

The China-Russia Trade Index has been designed to track this progress and allow businesses to evaluate demand. According to the 2021 Index, China-Russia trade growth rate ranked first among China’s major trading partners. China remained the primary trading partner of Russia, while Russia was China’s 10th largest trading partner. Despite the impact of Covid-19, trade has remained consistent, showing strong resilience in economic and trade cooperation.

Luan Zhicheng, Harbin’s Vice Mayor, has stated that Harbin will take the release of China-Russia economic and trade index as a signal to promote the practical cooperation between Harbin and Russia’s Far East to build Harbin into an important hub cooperation between China and Russia.

The China-Russia economic and trade index quantitatively demonstrates the level and trend of China-Russia economic and trade development in a digital way, said Wu Xuejun, president assistant of China Economic Information Service (CEIS).

The index has been released for three consecutive years since its first release in 2019, Wu addressed, adding that it has become an important tool for evaluating China-Russia economic and trade development and has been highly recognized by experts in the field.

CEIS is responsible for the research and development of the China-Russia economic and trade index and is one of the largest economic information service organizations in China. It undertakes four major information service platforms including the national financial information platform Xinhua Finance, the Belt and Road-centered comprehensive information service platform Xinhua Silk Road, the national credit information service platform Xinhua Credit and the China National Xinhua Index.

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Russia Briefing is written by Dezan Shira & Associates. The firm has 28 offices throughout Eurasia, including China, Russia, India, and the ASEAN nations, assisting foreign investors into the Eurasian region. Please contact Maria Kotova at russia@dezshira.com for Russian investment advisory or assistance with market intelligence, legal, tax and compliance issues throughout Asia.

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