Xinjiang's trade with Russia surges despite overall slowdown

Trade between China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and Russia grew more than threefold last year amid a slowdown in the region's foreign trade due to falling commodity prices, customs statistics showed on Saturday.

Xinjiang's trade with Russia rose a whopping 374 percent year on year in 2014 to 2.15 billion U.S. dollars, compared with a 0.4-percent rise in total foreign trade to 27.67 billion dollars during the same period.

The slowdown in overall trade volume is mostly a result of shrinking imports, which saw a 20.9-percent drop to 4.19 billion dollars last year, local customs said. Exports rose 5.5 percent year on year to 23.48 billion dollars.

Falling commodities prices are blamed for the decline as crude oil and minerals account for the majority of Xinjiang's imports. Crude oil and iron ore sand, whose prices fell 18.4 and 21 percent respectively, accounted for 53.8 percent of Xinjiang's total import volume last year.

Trade with Xinjiang's largest partner, Kazakhstan, was down 17.3 percent to 10.13 billion dollars.

Li Bin, an official with the Urumqi Customs District, said Xinjiang's trade growth this year will be underpinned by upcoming policies from local and central governments supporting the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road intitives, with the aim to better cooperate with countries in Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

Source: Xinhua