It seems that Russian authorities are having difficulty accepting that Russia is playing second fiddle to China when it comes to trade in Central Asia.

Eurasia net says that the reluctance of Russian officials to recognize trade realities was on display at the “INNOPROM Central Asia” trade fair that took place in the capital of Uzbekistan, Tashkent, from April 22 to 24.

TASS news agency reports that Igor Kamynin, Russia’s deputy trade representative in Uzbekistan, claimed in a statement at the exhibition, at least in the case of Uzbekistan, that Russia and China were “equal partners with an equal share of trade turnover” in the eyes of Uzbek leaders .

To bring Russia and China to the same level of trade, Kamynin cited ambitious trade goals for 2030, in which Uzbekistan hopes to increase annual trade turnover with both Russia and China to $20 billion each.

The Russian official noted that despite the pressure of sanctions, two-way trade between Russia and Uzbekistan was valued at almost $10 billion last year and increased by 21 percent in the first two months of this year.

Official Uzbek trade figures for 2023 are reportedly in line with Kamynin’s bubble world, showing that there is currently a large difference in trade turnover between Russia and China. Uzbek-Russian bilateral trade was valued at $9.8 billion last year, almost 30 percent lower than the Uzbek-Chinese total of $13.7 billion.

According to official Uzbek sources, China holds the lead so far this year. Bilateral trade turnover with China reached $3.01 billion in the first quarter of 2024, while Russia lagged behind at $2.5 billion. If the existing pattern holds for the rest of the year, the value of Uzbekistan’s bilateral trade with Russia will remain flat, while China’s total will decline.

Eurasia net notes that Uzbekistan is not an anomaly in the Russian-Chinese regional trade rivalry. Official statistics for 2023 show that China surpassed Russia in trade turnover with all five Central Asian countries.