China is now trailing the West – with fewer exports

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China’s exports to Russia have been falling since the start of the Ukraine war, and Beijing has not participated in sanctions against Moscow. (Image archive) © CHINATOPIX/dpa

Officially, China does not support sanctions against Russia and declares itself a “strategic partner” of Moscow – but exports are falling.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken wanted to talk seriously with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. That G20 foreign ministers meeting “An opportunity to express our expectations for China Ukraine to reveal what China should and shouldn’t do,” US State Department official Daniel Grittenbrink said ahead of the meeting. The focus may have been on trade with Russia. Officially, Beijing does not support Western sanctions and declares itself a “strategic partner” of Moscow. However, the data show something else: disapproval. Deliveries from countries, particularly China, are also declining. Russia They broke. One can only speculate about the reasons, he says Frankfurter Rundsau.

In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Western industrialized nations imposed unprecedented sanctions. In particular, exports of strategic goods such as semiconductors, aircraft parts and industrial equipment have been severely restricted in order to damage Russia’s military and strategic industries. The goal is not only the end of the Russian campaign in Ukraine, but also the permanent weakening of the country for war. “Russia will experience unprecedented isolation,” European Commission Vice President Joseph Borrell said in March.

Ukraine War Sanctions: Russia does not currently release any import figures

However, the history of sanctions shows that they only work if a broad coalition supports them. Otherwise, the sanctioned country may switch to other suppliers. Against this backdrop, much of the world is reluctant to follow Western sanctions and export controls – especially China, which has declared a “borderless partnership” with Russia and is trying to position itself as a neutral party. However, trade data show that supplies to Russia from countries without sanctions are not filling the gap left by export restrictions. On the contrary: they fall, including from China.

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Russia no longer publishes import figures. But the Washington-based Peterson Institute (PIIE) analyzed export data from 54 countries, which accounted for nearly 90 percent of Russian imports in 2021. The result: While exports from ratifying countries fell 60 percent from the start of the Russian invasion through April, Russian exports from countries not officially participating in the sanctions fell at least 40 percent. Only three countries – Israel, Uzbekistan and Brazil – increased their exports, but only slightly and only for one month.

Sanctions Against Russia: Consequences for Companies Ignoring Export Restrictions

China is of particular importance to Moscow, as it provided a quarter of Russian imports in 2021, including 57 percent of all imported semiconductors. After the Ukraine invasion, Beijing announced that it would continue its trade relations with Russia as normal. In fact, its Russia exports fell 38 percent through April. According to PIIE, the decline cannot be explained by China’s lockdowns, which reduced the country’s total exports by only eight percent.

“China’s exporters seem to have internalized the risks of violating sanctions,” says PIIE’s Martin Chorsemba, explaining shrinking exports. After all, any company that ignores export restrictions will not only lose access to American technology, but also hard currencies like dollars and euros. Economists see another explanation for the decline in Russian exports in the importance of multinationals in China. They account for more than half of all Chinese exports. These multinationals “probably don’t follow instructions Pekingbut in their parent companies’ home countries”.

Sanctions against Russia: Huawei has reduced trade with Russia

According to Sourcemba, deliveries to Russia from multinational companies and local companies cannot be separated. However, examples show that Chinese companies are also following Western guidelines. China’s UnionPay refuses to cooperate with sanctioned Russian banks, and even US-sanctioned high-tech company Huawei has scaled back its business in Russia.

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Beijing has yet to catch up with the West on trade. Finally, according to PIIE, its imports from Russia have risen to record levels. However, 80 percent of this is oil and gas, and the West has largely exempted it from sanctions to avoid rising prices.

Because of the gas crisis, the left is demanding one Removal of sanctions against Russia. The commissioning of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is also to be negotiated. (Stephen Kaufman)

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