BOFIT Viikkokatsaus / BOFIT Weekly 2019/49

China and Russia signed an initial agreement on construction of the Amur road bridge in 1995. Construction halted almost immediately due to the lack of financing. A second agreement was penned 20 years later, with construction getting underway in earnest in December 2016 with financing from a Chinese bank.

The thousand-metre bridge over the Amur links the city of Blagoveshensk in Russia’s Far East with Heihe in Northeastern China. Russia and China were each responsible for building half of the bridge. China completed its portion in autumn 2018 at an estimated cost of about 5 billion rubles (70 million euros). Russia completed its section in late November this year at a price of nearly 14 billion rubles (200 million euros). The bridge is set to open to goods traffic next spring, and passenger traffic is expected to begin in mid-2021 once Russia builds border-crossing infrastructure.

China is a key economic partner for Russian Amur region. China last year accounted for over 90 % of the region’s exports and nearly 75 % of its imports. The stock of Chinese FDI in the region was about 60 million dollars at the end of last year. China is the region’s second-most important FDI provider after Cyprus (Russian investors often cycle investment via Cyprus). A recent BBC investigation found that at least 10 % of land under cultivation in the Amur region was controlled by Chinese entities.