China has become Ukraine’s largest trading partner in the first quarter of the year pushing Russia into second place, the National Bank of Ukraine reported on Sept. 25. The volume of trade between countries reached $2.55 billion, comprised mainly of $1.93 billion import from China.
China’s total share in Ukraine’s overall foreign trade for this period reached 10.6 percent, leaving behind Russia with 9.7 percent, Germany with 6.9 percent, and Poland with 6.1 percent.
At the same time, Egypt and Turkey were the top destinations for Ukraine’s exports in the first quarter of the year, reaching $653 million and $634 million respectively.
Continuing the emerging trend China got 10.68 percent in Ukraine’s foreign trade reaching $6.67 billion by the end of July, according to the State Statistics Service of Ukraine.
Agricultural products, mainly corn and sunflower oil, ores, ferrous metals and wood took a lion share in Ukraine’s export to China, the report says. This included 63,000 tons of sunflower meal shipped from the Mykolaiv seaport by Ukraine’s agricultural giant Kernel, the largest single shipment of its kind to China. .
In addition, Ukraine was the largest supplier of sunflower oil to China fueled by the rising trend of a healthy lifestyle of Chinese consumers, according to Steven Li Feng Zhou, a senior trader at ECTP, according to Latifundist, a Ukrainian agribusiness internet portal.
“Chinese families strive to use corn and sunflower oil,” said Zhou during the Black Sea Oil Trade-2019 conference in Kyiv on Sept.5.
For the first seven months of the year Ukraine supplied around 76,400 thousand tons of sunflower oil to China while Russia supplied almost three times less, or 25,800 tons.
Moreover, in August China allowed three Ukrainian plants to export frozen beef meat to the country.
“Signing the protocol indicated the official opening of the Chinese market for Ukrainian beef,” the State Service of Ukraine On Food Safety and Consumer Protection reported on Sept.10.
China has been aggressively investing in Ukrainian enterprises over the past few years. President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office said in July that China is ready to sink $10 billion in Ukrainian projects.
In December, the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine allowed China’s Bohai Commodity Exchange Co. to acquire 25 percent of Ukraine’s PFTS Stock Exchange system based in Kyiv.
China’s Beijing Skyrizon Aviation has also been trying to acquire a majority stake in Motor Sich, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of engines for both civil and military airplanes and helicopters, as well as for cruise missiles. Skyrizon is linked to China’s People’s Liberation Army.
A previous acquisition attempt was shut down by Ukraine in 2017 and a subsequent attempt is currently being reviewed by the AMCU. Motor Sich is widely considered to be a strategically vital enterprise for Ukraine.