Russia is aiming for $200 billion of trade with China as it backs 'no limits' partnership with Beijing

  • Russia aims hit $200 billion of trade with China this year and vowed to bring its relationship with Beijing to a “new level.” 
  • The Kremlin also reiterated its “no limits” strategic partnership with China.
  • Russia has increasingly relied on China after being shunned by the West over its war on Ukraine.

Russia is aiming for $200 billion of trade with China this year as it seeks to take its partnership with the Beijing to a “new level,” officials said.

Trade between China and Russia hit an all-time high of $190 billion in 2022, according to data from the Chinese General Administration of Customs.

“We are convinced that the potential for Russian-Chinese bilateral cooperation is still far from exhausted,” Russia’s foreign ministry said, per a Reuters report on Tuesday.

The ministry added that the partnership with China would “significantly deepen” and reach “no limits.” Before Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, the two countries first announced a “no limits” strategic partnership

Since the war began, Russia has leaned heavily on China. Though the West has shunned Russia and imposed strict sanctions, China has not taken an official stance on the war, and significantly ramped up its purchases of Russian oil and gas at discounted prices.

Russia also began purchasing the Chinese yuan, after sanctions shut it out from global transactions in the US dollar and euro. The yuan now accounts for nearly half of Russia’s foreign currency market, according to a report from the Moscow Exchange, and sales of the yuan could bolster the Russian economy despite Western trade restrictions, Bloomberg reported.

It’s unclear how deeply the “no limits” partnership will intertwine the two nations, though China’s chief diplomat Wang Yi is is expected to visit Moscow in February. That could possibly include a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, a local Russian news outlet reported, though the purpose of Wang’s visit hasn’t been officially determined.

But experts warn that Russia can’t fully rely on its allies to cover all of its losses from Western trade restrictions. Even with continued support from China and India, Russia’s oil revenue has plunged since the European Union banned Russian crude and slapped a $60-per-barrel price cap on it.

China and India are also unlikely to come to the rescue when the EU bans refined Russian fuels in February, meaning the Kremlin could see more headwinds in the coming weeks.