YEREVAN — China solidified last year its position as Armenia’s second largest trading partner after Russia due to a sharp increase in Armenian exports to the People’s Republic, government data shows.
According to the Armenian government’s Statistical Committee, Armenia’s overall exports and imports fell in 2020 amid a global recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Chinese-Armenian trade bucked this trend, rising by 2 percent to $965 million on the back of an almost 50 percent surge in Armenian exports to China, which totaled $290 million. That offset a more than 10 percent drop in the import of Chinese goods to the South Caucasus country.
China thus accounted for 13.6 percent of Armenia’s foreign trade, compared with Russia’s 30.3 percent share in the total.
The official figures released by the Statistical Committee also show that Armenia’s trade with European Union member states shrunk by as much as 23 percent to around $1.3 billion. The latter accounted for 18 percent of Armenian import and export operations.
Both the current and former Armenian governments have maintained a cordial relationship with Beijing and sought to cement it with closer commercial ties. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan reaffirmed this policy when he congratulated China’s President Xi Jinping on the Chinese New Year last week.
“Armenia is eager to consistently develop and strengthen the traditionally friendly relations with China,” Pashinyan wrote to Xi.
Xi praised bilateral ties and called for “joint efforts to elevate our multifaceted cooperation to a new level” in a congratulatory message to President Armen Sarkissian sent in September.