Chinese companies sell Russian goods needed by the military to continue fighting in Ukraine

BEIJING – Chinese exports to Russia of microchips and other electronic components and raw materials, some with military applications, have increased since then Moscow’s invasion of Ukrainecomplicating efforts by the United States and Western allies to isolate the country’s economy and paralyze its military.

Chinese customs data showed that shipments of chips from China to Russia more than doubled to about $50 million in the first five months of 2022 compared to the previous year, while exports of other components such as printed circuits posted double-digit growth. The volume of exports of aluminum oxide, which is used to make aluminum metal, an important material in the production of weapons and aviation, is 400 times more than last year.

The rise in the declared export values ​​can be partially explained by inflation. But the data shows that many Chinese technology vendors have continued to do business with Russia despite US scrutiny.

Chinese exports, while only a small slice of the country’s total exports, are of concern to US officials. Department of Commerce Five Chinese electronics companies have been added to the trade blacklist Last month for allegedly helping the Russian defense industry, both before the invasion And after it started.

“Our government and national leadership have been very clear since February 24 that China should not provide material, economic, and military support to Russia in this war,” Nicholas Burns, the US ambassador to China, said last week.

The Commerce Department said in a written response that while it did not believe China sought to systematically evade U.S. export controls on Russia, the Department had been closely monitoring trade between countries and “would not hesitate to use our full legal and regulatory tools against parties that Provides support to the Russian army.

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Sino-Russian trade in chips and other components with potential military applications includes both small and private clothing and sprawling state-owned companies. Incomplete data and complex networks of affiliates and brokers make it difficult to track all the activity.

Chinese officials have said the country does not sell arms to Russia. Overall exports from China to Russia have fallen dramatically this year as many Chinese companies fear conflict with the United States

With fireworks and noise, China and Russia opened a new bridge for freight traffic connecting the two countries. With Russia increasingly isolated in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine, China is willing to keep their partnership going but not at any cost. Photo: Amur Regional Government / Zuma Press

China’s support, in general, is crucial to Moscow. Oil and gas revenues make up a large part of the Russian economy. As European countries such as Germany seek to reduce Russian energy purchases, the Russian president

Russian President Vladimir Putin

He stressed the importance of selling more energy to China and others in Asia in the future.

China is also gaining influence in its relationship with Russia. While China has historically relied on Russia, and before that the Soviet Union, for many advanced technologies, this is gradually changing as China closes the technology gap and emerges as a defense resource in its own right.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has repeatedly emphasized Beijing’s support for Russia, saying the two countries have in common. Friendship without borders.

Shared dissatisfaction with the US-led international order after World War II gradually pushed the two countries together during Mr. Xi’s decade in power, although Long history of strategic mistrust.

Semiconductor technology trade fair in Shanghai. Sino-Russian trade in chips and other components with potential military applications includes both small and private clothing and sprawling state-owned companies.


picture:

Ali/Reuters song

Researchers at C4ADS, a Washington-based nonprofit that tracks security threats, are looking into trade between Russian defense companies and China Poly Group, a conglomerate controlled by China’s central government.

Bole’s subsidiaries include a major Chinese arms producer and exporter of small arms, missile technology and most recently anti-aircraft laser technology.

Between 2014 and January 2022, C4ADS researcher Naomi Garcia identified 281 previously undisclosed shipments of so-called dual-use goods, which have both civilian and military uses, from Poly subsidiaries to Russian defense organizations, she wrote in a report to be released Friday.

In one of the most recent shipments, in late January, according to research, Poly Technologies sent antenna parts to the Russian defense company, Almaz-Antey, which is subject to sanctions. Ms. Garcia said she had not discovered PVA shipments to Russian defense companies since the invasion of Ukraine began in late February.

Russian customs records reviewed by C4ADS say the antenna parts were to be used specifically in a radar part of Russia’s advanced S-400 surface-to-air missile system. Russian media, citing the country’s Defense Ministry, said that the S-400 system had been used in the Ukraine war.

“Poly Technologies undoubtedly facilitates the acquisition of parts for missile systems by the Russian government,” Garcia said.

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Poly Technologies was sanctioned by the State Department in January for its participation in the spread of missile technologies. A State Department spokesperson said the sanctions relate to the company’s transfer of ballistic missile technology to another country, but did not mention which country.

Polly did not respond to a faxed request for comment, and an official at her press office closed when asked about her work with Russia. Almaz-Antey, the Russian Ministry of Economic Development, Industry and Trade, did not respond to comment.

In addition to radar components and semiconductors, Chinese exporters have also helped fill a gap in core materials that prevents Russia from obtaining them elsewhere.

In March, Australia banned the export of aluminum oxide and several other related products, arguing that it was used in weapons development. Since then, Chinese exports of aluminum oxide to Russia have soared, reaching 153,000 metric tons in May, according to Chinese customs records, compared to 227 metric tons in the same month the previous year.

In contrast to the state-owned conglomerate Poly, the Chinese companies recently targeted by the Ministry of Commerce are small special hardware distributors carried out from Hong Kong and south China’s Guangdong Province. While there is relatively little information about how much business they do with Russia, some of the companies mentioned by the United States have publicly announced their defense business.

One company, Winninc Electronics Co., Ltd. , previously posted on its website that it was a major distributor for “manufacturers of industrial, military, aerospace and consumer electronics worldwide”. This language has since been deleted. “Hopefully we can get through this,” the site now says.

Another target company is Sinno Electronics Co., Ltd. It also, until recently, said on its website that it had been a “collaborative partner” of publicly traded US device manufacturers, including

Texas Instruments a company

And the

Analog devices a company

Texas Instruments did not respond to requests for comment. Analog Devices said it is not a partner of Sinno. It added that it instructed its distributors to stop dealing with the company after the decision of the Ministry of Commerce to include it in the blacklist.

Sinno did not respond to a request for comment. A person who answered the phone at Winninc said the company had not been informed of the US decision before it was announced, but declined to comment further.

Maria Shagina, an expert on Russian sanctions at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Berlin, said the latest action against Chinese companies appeared to be aimed at showing that US threats were credible, especially given how small companies might be better able to circumvent exports. controls from the largest.

“While the United States and its allies have failed to deter with Russia, it is important to prevent China early enough from systematically helping Russia,” she said.

write to Brian Spiegel at [email protected]

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