The Chinese port of Manzhouli in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region imported 1,387 tons of fresh water from Russia in January and February 2017, setting a record high that has been interpreted by some experts as a "positive signal” about the countries’ cooperation on water supply.
According to a statement released by the Inspection and Quarantine Bureau of Manzhouli on March 16, China imported 77 batches of drinkable water from Russia in January and February, at a total cost of $327,000.
Due to increasing trade between China and Russia, more Russian commodities have entered Chinese market in recent years. That includes fresh water, especially from Siberia’s Lake Baikal, which contains highly desirable mineral substances. According to the official statement, water from Baikal can satisfy the daily needs of Manzhouli residents, and will be sold to other Chinese cities as well. Local authorities will facilitate the importation of Baikal water in an effort to promote Sino-Russian trade.
China and Russia have been working hard to include water in their bilateral trade, as Baikal is the largest freshwater lake in the world by volume, and can offer significant relief to drought-stricken regions in China. According to a recent Global Times report, officials in Lanzhou, Gansu province intend to build a pipeline through Russia and Mongolia to China.