Download publication

Working Paper

How does China fare on the Russian market? Implications for the European Union

China’s economic ties with Russia are deepening. Meanwhile, Europe remains Russia’s largest trading partner, lender and investor. An analysis of China’s ties with Russia, indicate that China seems to have become more of a competitor to the European Union on Russia’s market. Competition over investment and lending is more limited, but the situation could change rapidly with China and Russia giving clear signs of a stronger than ever strategic partnership.

By: and Date: November 18, 2019 Topic: Global Economics & Governance

This paper was prepared for the seminar ‘Trade relations  between the EU, China and Russia’, co-organised by the delegation of the European Union to Russia and Bruegel with the support of the EU Russia Expert Network on Foreign Policy (EUREN). The seminar was funded by the European Union.

The content of this paper is the sole responsibility of the author and does not represent the official position of the European Union.

The last two decades have seen a very rapid increase in trade and lending between China and Russia. The investment relationship has remained more subdued. China dominates every aspect of the bilateral economic relationship, as a net exporter, net creditor and net investor, despite Russia long being a richer country than China.

China and Russia are increasingly viewed as important political and economic partners, notwithstanding their past differences. However, in terms of trade and investment, economic cooperation between the two countries’ remains less intense than their diplomatic relationship, even though their formal economic interactions can be traced back to the 1700s and both shared a similar economic model, namely central planning, for a good part of the twentieth century.

China has developed very rapidly in economic terms over the past two decades since its accession to the World Trade Organisation. In particular, it has become the largest exporter in the world from a very low base (Figure 1 and Table A1 in the Annex), surpassing Europe. In that context, it is unsurprising that Chinese goods have flooded Russia, eating into the EU’s and the US’s export shares to Russia. Beyond China’s increasing economic weight, the changing global environment, including the sanctions and counter-sanctions between the West and Russia, the US-China trade war and the US-led IndoPacific Strategy, have helped re-orient Russia’s economic relationships towards the east, with China being the largest player.

China has also become increasingly interested in its neighbourhood (and beyond) with its landmark project, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Among the large and increasing number of countries that participate in the BRI, Russia occupies an important position as the recipient of the largest amount of Chinese funding, mainly for energy and railway infrastructure. In particular, out of the six corridors China has announced for the BRI, several cross Russia, including the New Eurasian Land Bridge and the China-Mongolia-Russia Corridor. In addition, Russia and China have agreed to jointly build an ‘Ice Silk Road’ along the northern sea route in the Arctic. All in all, Russia has unquestionably become an important partner in China’s massive global infrastructure project plans. Russia has also proposed the concept of a Great Eurasian Partnership, which is seen as a way for the Kremlin to preserve its relationships within its neighbourhood at a time of very rapid increase in Chinese influence (Köstem, 2019).

Read article More on this topic More by this author
 

Opinion

Reading tea leaves from China’s two sessions: Large monetary and fiscal stimulus and still no growth guarantee

The announcement of a large stimulus without a growth target indicates that China’s recovery is far from complete.

By: Alicia García-Herrero Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: May 25, 2020
Read article More by this author
 

Podcast

Podcast

China’s financial system: opening up and system risk

China is opening up its financial sector- What does that mean for China and the world?

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation, Global Economics & Governance Date: May 22, 2020
Read article More on this topic More by this author
 

Podcast

Podcast

Singapore's experience in dealing with COVID-19

A conversation with Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Singapore, on how this city-state has tackled the coronavirus.

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: May 19, 2020
Read about event More on this topic
 

Past Event

Past Event

The Sound of Economics Live: Singapore's experience in dealing with COVID-19

A conversation with Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Singapore, on how this city-state has tackled the coronavirus.

Speakers: Vivian Balakrishnan, Giuseppe Porcaro and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Global Economics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: May 19, 2020
Read about event More on this topic
 

Past Event

Past Event

The Sound of Economics Live: China’s financial system: opening up and system risk

China is opening up its financial sector? What does that mean for China and the world?

Speakers: Alicia García-Herrero, Gary Liu and Giuseppe Porcaro Topic: Global Economics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: May 19, 2020
Read article More on this topic More by this author
 

Podcast

Podcast

China’s economy after COVID-19

The first country to be hit by the current pandemic, China has been at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19. What have been its impacts on the Chinese economy? What does it represent, more broadly, to the global economy? Are global supply chains really starting to be put into question? Today, Giuseppe Porcaro is joined by Alicia García-Herrero and Yiping Huang, Professor of Economics and Finance at the Peking University.

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: May 6, 2020
Read about event More on this topic
 

Past Event

Past Event

The Sound of Economics Live: China’s economy after COVID-19

This episode of The Sound of Economics Live will explore the short and medium term prospects for the Chinese economy after COVID-19

Speakers: Alicia García-Herrero, Yiping Huang and Giuseppe Porcaro Topic: Global Economics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: May 6, 2020
Read article More on this topic More by this author
 

Opinion

Depression, and not stagflation, could haunt China in 2020

This opinion piece was originally published in Asia Times and Medium China’s GDP in the first quarter of the year has surprised nobody but the devil is in the details. Local retail sales continued to fall in March (-16%), marginally better than during the peak of the Covid19 outbreak in January and February. The continuation […]

By: Alicia García-Herrero Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: April 17, 2020
Read article More on this topic
 

Blog Post

EU trade in medical goods: why self-sufficiency is the wrong approach

As countries are struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic, shortages in medical equipment led to EU export controls and war-time like procurement of respirators. While the crisis is still unfolding, there is a debate on whether the EU is too reliant on global value chains for medical goods. Looking at the world market of medical goods for the EU, we argue that self-sufficiency is the wrong approach. Global medical markets are to the benefits of the EU and stockpiling and preparation are more effective in preparing for emergencies.

By: Sybrand Brekelmans and Niclas Poitiers Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: April 14, 2020
Read article More on this topic More by this author
 

Podcast

Podcast

Mythbusters: debunking economic myths

Economics seems to be full of myths that are hard to debunk. Will robots take our jobs? Are trade deficits bad? Is China such a big economy simply because of the size of its population? This week, Nicholas Barrett, Maria Demertzis, Marta Domínguez-Jímenez and Niclas Poitiers put on the detective cap and become Bruegel's own economic mythbusters.

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: April 3, 2020
Read article More on this topic
 

Opinion

Why are some stock markets in Asia less affected by coronavirus?

While Asian markets are in a sea of red, mainland China, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Taiwan are all defying the gravity.

By: Alicia García-Herrero and Gary Ng Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: March 31, 2020
Read article More on this topic
 

Blog Post

COVID-19 and broken Collusion: the oil price collapse is one more warning for Russia

In the midst of the COVID-19 epidemic, the sharp collapse in the oil price has received little attention. Brent fell by 30% on 9 March, the largest fall since the 1991 Gulf War. The Russian ruble followed suit and its tumble highlights Russia’s continued dependence on resource extraction. The episode should be taken as a sign of things to come in a world where Russia’s main customers are going green.

By: Niclas Poitiers and Marta Domínguez-Jiménez Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: March 19, 2020
Load more posts