Trade between China and Russia is expected to grow thanks to the opportunities created by the Belt and Road Initiative, experts said.[Special coverage]
"In the next one to two years, Sino-Russian trade will likely continue delivering double-digit growth, partly bolstered by their strong economic complementarities," Wei Jianguo, vice-president of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, said on Monday.
Also, China's investment in Russia is expected to grow significantly, and the two countries will also work more closely to invest in third countries, especially economies along the Belt and Road, said Wei, a former vice-minister of commerce.
Li Hui, China's ambassador to Russia, said, "China and Russia have enormous potential for bilateral economic cooperation. ... More new growth areas, such as agricultural products, and oil and gas equipment, are likely to be fostered."
"Despite the global economic downturn and several other unfavorable factors last year, Sino-Russian trade has been stabilized. The uptrend will likely be maintained this year," he said at a recent news conference.
"The Belt and Road Initiative will help China and Russia upgrade their cross-border economic cooperation in trade and investments," said Sun Chenghai, director of the Foreign Trade Development Bureau at the Ministry of Commerce. "Russia is building economic development zones and diversifying the functions of Zarubino Port, which is 18 kilometers from its border with China."
In 2015, the global economic downturn and low energy prices dragged down the trading volume between the two countries. But the figure quickly bounced back in 2016, with a boost from e-commerce.
"Big-ticket projects in such fields as energy and transportation are going smoothly," Sun said. "Interconnection, financial and trade facilitation under the Belt and Road Initiative definitely has profound implications in terms of resolving difficulties and improving the business environment between two countries."
Last month, China Railway Group announced it will build a high-speed railway in Russia connecting the country's third-largest city, Yekaterinburg, with Chelyabinsk. The project will involve a total investment of .5 billion.
The train, at an estimated speed of up to 250 kilometers per hour, will cut the journey between two cities to approximately one hour and 10 minutes from five hours.