Russia expects its trade flows with China to grow fast in the next two years after they announced a “no limits” partnership in February.

Georgiy Zinoviev, head of the Russian foreign ministry’s first Asia department, said that they are focused on achieving the goal of the two countries’ leaders to bring bilateral trade turnover to $200 billion by 2024.

Zinoviev told the Interfax news agency that Russia could reach that ambitious figure earlier than planned.

Reuters citing Chinese customs data, reported that total trade between Russia and China reached a record $146.9 billion in 2021, up nearly 36% from the previous year.

Commodity flows between the two countries are expected to surge as Russia faces isolation from the West following its invasion of Ukraine. Beijing has refused to condemn Moscow’s actions while criticizing the international sanctions against Russia.

With Russian trade buffeted by the sanctions, Zinoviev said they need time to adapt. But he added that China’s recent battle against the resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic could complicate their efforts.

Zinoviev said, “Chinese business remains interested in expanding its presence in Russia, for whom additional opportunities are opening up given the departure of some Western companies.”

Zinoviev said there is also a risk of secondary sanctions against Chinese companies if they help Russia evade sanctions. But he said that a significant increase in cooperation is likely.

Zinoviev said that he believed Russian and Chinese partners would be able to use the current situation to further their common interests and fully unlock the potential for a significant increase in cooperation in all areas.

Russia is a significant source of oil, gas, coal, and agricultural commodities for China. As a result, Moscow still runs a trade surplus with Beijing.

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