Monday, February 26, 2024

Beijing-Moscow $200bn trade goal achieved ahead of schedule: President Xi

The goal of bringing Russia-China trade to the $200 billion mark has already been achieved ahead of schedule as bilateral trade reached $218.28 by the end of 2023, Chinese President Xi Jinping stated on Wednesday.

“The goal set five years ago by [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and me to bring the volume of bilateral trade to $200 billion has been achieved ahead of schedule,” Xi told a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin in Beijing, adding that this reflects the positive dynamics of bilateral cooperation.

Russia and China have achieved good results in investments, with about 80 joint projects worth nearly 20 trillion rubles ($22 billion) under implementation, Mishustin said at the meeting.

The prime minister added that the countries have fully switched to national currencies in mutual settlements, adding that over 90% of settlements are being made in rubles and yuan.

In February 2022, Putin and Xi set a goal of reaching $200 billion in bilateral trade by 2024, after the previous threshold of $100 billion was reached in 2018.

By the end of 2022, trade between the two countries grew by 29.3% to a record $190.271 billion.

During a meeting on Tuesday with his Chinese counterpart, Li Qiang, Mishustin stated Western currencies have almost been completely phased out in Russia-China trade, as nearly all payments between the countries are now carried out in rubles and yuan.

“We continue to increase the share of national currencies in mutual settlements. If in 2020 this figure was about 20%, then this year we have actually completely gotten rid of the currencies of third countries in mutual settlements,” Mishustin continued.

He also mentioned strengthening business relations, recalling that a joint business forum held in Shanghai in May attracted more than 1,500 entrepreneurs from both countries.

“We are creating comfortable conditions for the work of commercial firms on the Russian and Chinese markets. We have an extensive joint agenda,” Mishustin emphasized.

In turn, Li Qiang noted that cooperation between Moscow and Beijing continues to strengthen and is becoming increasingly important against the backdrop of “global turbulence”.

Russia and its trade partners have started to switch to alternative currencies in mutual trade after sanctions effectively cut Moscow off from the Western financial system. A growing number of nations are turning to national currency settlements in trade.

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