Published On: Mon, Aug 7th, 2017

Could US sanctions on Russia pave the way to a stronger Russian-Chinese economic cooperation?

Donald Trump has signed a package to implement strong sanctions on Russia hoping it will be able to impose this country, US plans at the end of the day. Russia does not seem to be extremely disturbed by this threat from the USA, despite some problems it will have to face in the short and medium terms at least.

The issue here is “if EU will take a stance to stand by Russia” even if partially so as not allow to apply USA its plans fully or abide by the rules Americans impose and let Russia struggle on its own to avoid strong impact of bans imposed on its economy.

Experts say that the US judicial system has always been a headache for Brussels, punishing companies in Europe for American interests. Because of the current political crisis in the USA, it may be a lucky time for Europe to get back to Washington with a powerful reply so as to establish a new balance in trans-Atlantic relations. On the other hand though, it might not be that easy for Brussels to take this courageous step, challenging Washington regarding its “global” (or should we say imperialist) ambitions. It is obvious that “If the EU accepts a law that opposes US sanctions, it will challenge the global implementation of US laws, which Washington will certainly evaluate as a challenge (and hostile one certainly) to its role as a global political leader,”

China on the other hand could an alternative for Russia to survive the American offensive as this country has many advantages such as advanced technologies to offer Russia, to avoid negative impacts to come due to sanctions it will face. Therefore some experts suggest that Russia might as well first consider reaching its eastern partners, China to be in the first place.

The question at this point would be however, “if Chinese companies would want to invest in Russia” despite the willingness of Beijing for collaboration and partnership with Moscow. Then again, it is not difficult to think China would not underestimate the importance of establishment of a global market instead of deeper cooperation with particular countries and regions, only.

In any case it is almost certain that the new US sanctions will bring Russia and China closer in trade and infrastructure issues.

Although, the USA and the EU believe in enforcing sanctions on Russia, it is also a fact that the costs and benefits of such an operation will be different simply because Russia will keep its position as the main energy exporter, in any case. Thus concerned sanctions may serve to worsen economic relations between Russia and the EU as well, with the consequence for Russia to turn its face to the East and China mainly. This prospect is seen to be much stronger especially considering that energy is among the primary concerns for the Chinese and most of their investment is known to be in Russia.

One disadvantage could be however, the fact that Chinese companies would not want to sanction the US market, which they consider far more important than the Russian market.

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