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China-Russia Economic Cooperation
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China is a major trading partner for Russia as a whole and particularly for southern Russian Far East. In Chitinskaya Province trade with China accounts for 96 percent of the foreign trade volume.

If we look more closely at Russia-China trade, we find that the proportions of raw materials and fuel have increased sharply. The following graphs were developed by the Center for Economic and Financial Research in Moscow to show 1992-2004 trends in trade and in the composition of the export trade for the two countries in 2002, as compared to worldwide exports (Figures 1 and 2). Chinese trade composition is similar to that expected in a developed economy, whereas Russian trade is typical of a developing economy.


Figure 1. Structure of China exports to Russia in comparison with the rest of the world in 2002

(Source: Volchkova, N. 2005. China-Russia Trade in Goods: What We Can Infer From It. CEFIR, Moscow,

Figure 2. Structure of Russian exports to China in comparison with the rest of the world in 2002

(Source: Volchkova, N. 2005. China-Russia Trade in Goods: What We Can Infer From It. CEFIR, Moscow,

In 2004, trade in oil ($2.9 billion) and round wood ($1.4 billion), along with ore, fish, cellulose, and fertilizers, increased rapidly. Machinery dropped to 4.8 percent of total exports. From 2004 to 2005 trade increased 37 percent and hit an all-time high of nearly $30 billion. Arms sales are also a big factor in bilateral relations and economics. In September 2005, China contracted to buy 38 aircraft (Ilyushin Il-76 transport aircraft and Il-78 refueling planes), for a total of about $1.5 billion.

In March 2006 Hu Jintao announced that China would immediately invest $2 billion in the Russian economy across 20 projects. An additional $18 billion would be invested by 2020. Many of these projects involve oil and gas exploration and extraction and processing of raw materials for export to China.

Effective implementation of China's policy to increase the importation of raw materials and increase the export of finished goods has stimulated Russia's president to voice concern about this "unfavorable tendency" at the Beijing Summit in 2006, and impose additional taxes on exported round wood, which led to growth in domestic processing in 2007.


Heilongjiang Province – Forerunner in the Development of the "New Northern Frontier"

The policy of neighboring Heilongjiang Province is somewhat similar to that of China as whole, be it more focused on the RFE. Trade volume in 2005 was $5.68 billion, or 60 percent of the province's foreign trade. Some Chinese traders claim that percentage profits from trade with Russia can reach 100-200 percent. In 2000-2005 total trade volume of Heilongjiang Province with Russia was $16.4 billion. There were 96 production bases specializing in Russian exports and 374 construction and migrant workforce contracts in 2000-2005. Seventy four new enterprises were established in Russia with $280 million in capital investment of which $220 million was the Chinese share.

According to official sources, Heilongjiang province has strategic advantages as a "gateway to Russia " because of:

•  geographic proximity and 25 crossing points;

•  historic and cultural ties;

•  developed business ties;

•  mutual adjustment of banking systems; and

•  extensive cooperation in technology and science.


Based on these advantages, Heilongjiang attracts investment from south China and abroad for joint development of the "new northern frontier". Exports would be diversified by adding more electronics, cars and construction materials. All border provinces are developing zones for processing imported raw materials (mainly timber and oil), with Suifenhe already achieving capacity to process 30-50 percent of timber crossing the border into value-added products. Substantial governmental subsidies are channeled to develop such border trade zones, and the China-Russia Bingxi "Technology park" in suburban Harbin.


Map collection: Environmental impacts of economic development



GLOBIO human impact assesment

Human footprint and ecoregions of Amur

Human footprint and protected areas coverage

Threats to biodiversity in Southern Russian Far East

Industrial Development in Songhua River Basin (ADB 2005)


GIS: Human footprint


Web-site: Programs “Development of Russian Far East and Transbaikalia” “Development of East Siberia and the Far East” and their environmental implications: link to projects and atlas


In Russia for many settlements - logging and selling roundwood to China is the only source of income (Photo by V.Fedorchenko)

Also look:

Economic development:

Sustainable future of Amur-Heilong

Russia – status of economy

Northeast China - status of economy

Mongolia – status of economy

Mongolian Foreign Trade and Cooperation

Mongolian trade diagrams-2003

Comparison table on Eastern Mongolia and Xinganmeng China

Comparison table on southern RFE and Heilongjiang Province, China

Policy for Revitalizing Old industrial Bases in NE China


Cumulative impacts -how much is affected?

Human Impacts and Threats to Biodiversity

Threats to major ecosystems in the Russian Far East Ecoregion-table


"Strategic considerations on environmental issues of Revitalizing Old industrial Bases in NE China"

"Strategy Recommendations"

Our questions on "Strategy Recommendations"

Gloomy forecast of the future environmental impacts

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