Sino-Russian Forum

Chapter1. Historical Retrospection of Sino-USSR Trade
Sino-R.S.S.R trade started even before the establishment of the People's Republic of China. In August 1946, the Chinese Communist Party Northeast Bureau reached an agreement with the Soviet Union to exchange clothes, medicine and other daily necessities with foodstuff. At the end of the year, a small-scale trade began. The trade relation between China and USSR had experienced great changes since the establishment of the People's Republic of China. From the moment in 1949 to the disintegration of the USSR in 1991, there are several stages in the development of the Sino-USSR trade relation: the ?golden times? in the 50s, the decline in the 60s, the stagnation in the 60s and the rapid growth in the 80s.
?1. The ?golden times? in the 1950s
The1950s is the period that Sino-USSR trade grew quickly.
In the second day after the People's Republic of China announced her establishment (October 2,1949) , the Soviet government officially admitted the Chinese government and established an ambassadorial diplomatic relations with china.
In April 19,1950, the two governments signed the first trade agreement ?The Trade Agreement Between The People's Republic Of China Government and The Union Of Soviet Socialist Republics Government. It was the first trade agreement that China signed with a foreign country. It established a solid foundation for the development of the trade between the two countries.
In 1957 and 1958, another two agreement was signed. They included items about transportation and most-favored-treatment clause in economics. They had great meanings in promoting the economic and trade relations between China and USSR
The large-scale economic cooperation between China and USSR brought the quick growth of the trade amount between the two countries. In 1950, the total Sino-R.S.S.R trade amount was 3338.4 million dollars and ranked first in the foreign trade partners of the China. In 1955, the total trade amount was 1789.9 million dollars, which was two-third of the amount of the Chinese foreign trade. It was the year that Sino-USSR trade amount took the biggest proportion in the total Chinese foreign trade amount. In 1959, the trade amount reached 2097 million dollars which was the 5.2 times of that in 1950. USSR was the biggest trade partner of China. Her proportion in the foreign trade of China kept at 40%-50percentage except in 1950.
Table of sino-USSR trade amount in the 1950s
(unit: ten thousand dollars)
Year Total trade amount Exports Imports Proportion to Chinese foreign trade (%)
1960 33 844
80 860
106 142
125 823
129 124
178 985
152 377
136 470
153 857
209 700
166 394 15 325
31 129
41 204
48 061
58 663
67 021
76 168
74 697
89 887
111 794
81 878 18 519
49 731
65 217
77 762
70 461
111 64
76 209
61 773
63 970
97 906
84 516 29.8
Original sources: Chinese Foreign Economics and Trade Annual
What China mainly exported to USSR were agricultural products and by-products like rice, soy bean, tea, meat and vegetable oil; light industrial products; mineral resources and rare metals. What China imported were mainly equipment and military orders. From 1953 to 1957, the proportion of machines imported from USSR to the total Sino-USSR imports was 34%, 33% were machines in sets. To 1959, the proportions respectively rose to 62.2%and 41.9%. China also imported petrologic products like petrol, lubricant and kerosene; raw materials like steal and cotton.
?2. The Decline in the 60s
The Chinese Communist Party and the Soviet Communist Party had diverged in ideology since 1956. Their divergence became bigger and bigger which deteriorated the relation between the two countries, produced direct and serious effects on the development of economic, and trade relations between the two countries. Bilateral trade sharply decreased and economic cooperation entirely stopped. In 1960, USSR tore up 12 agreements, recalled all the experts in China, stopped 257 technological cooperation items, and refused to supply mineral resources like cobalt and nickel that China needed urgently and greatly decreased the export of machines and important accessories. All these brought great destruction to the economy of China.
The trade amount sharply decreased to 827.9 million dollars in 1961,which was just half of the amount in 1960 and one third of the amount in 1959. In 1970, sino-USSR trade amount dropped to the lowest point in the history?only 4.723 million dollars which was 2.25% of the amount of 1959. This number was only 1% of the total Chinese foreign trade and 0.2% of the USSR foreign trade.