Trade between the Russian-bordered Chinese province of Heilongjiang and Russia reached $22.36 billion in 2013, up 5.8 per cent, said the local customs authority on Sunday.
Imports to the Chinese province from Moscow accounted for $15.45 billion, an increase of 34 per cent year on year.
Meanwhile, exports stood at $6.91 billion, down 3.3 per cent compared with the previous year, registering a cumulative trade deficit of $8.54 billion.
Contrary to expectations, China-Russia trade has declined in 2013, rising only 0.5 per cent between January to November, which is 10 percentage points lower year on year amid a slowdown in China’s double-digit growth rate.
“The global economic situation is the major cause of the slowdown,” said Li Jianmin, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).
According to China’s General Administration of Customs, Sino-Russian trade for the whole year might not grow at all from 2012.
Data for December 2013 trade between the two countries is still awaited.
However, crucial energy agreements signed in 2013 could lift the clouds hanging over Russia-China trade.
Russia will supply 46 million tonnes of oil to China each year in the next 25 years, according to recent deals signed by President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.
In 2013, Xi and Putin have overseen enormous Sino-Russian joint ventures including a massive oil deal with state-run Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil company striking agreements to almost triple oil supplies to China in coming years from the around 300,000 barrels per day (15 million tonnes a year) it ships there currently.
Xi and Putin have vowed better ties between the two allies in 2014 in an exchange of New Year greetings earlier this month.