Beijing: Russia and China bilateral trade may hit $200 billion annually before the target year of 2024 due to Western sanctions and the accelerated growth of economic cooperation between the countries, Russia's Consulate General in Harbin said on Thursday.

"The target of the two countries is to bring the volume of mutual trade to $200 billion by 2024. In the context of Western sanctions and the accelerated growth of Russian-Chinese trade and economic cooperation, this may happen even earlier," the diplomatic mission said in a statement.

According to the Chinese customs, trade between the two countries increased by 28.7% in the first quarter of 2022 in year-on-year terms and amounted to $38.17 billion. At the same time, Chinese exports to Russia rose by 25.9%, reaching $16.4 billion, while Russian exports to China grew by 31% to $21.7 billion.

The general consulate noted that business activities between the two countries were traditionally reduced in the first quarter while a peak of bilateral trade usually takes place in the second half of the year.

In late 2021, trade between Russia and China increased by 35.8% and amounted to a record $146.887 billion. The leaders of the two countries set the goal of doubling the trade turnover and bringing it from $100 billion per year ( the mark was reached in 2018) to $200 billion by 2024.

On February 4, leaders of China and Russia held talks in Beijing. After negotiations, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Chinese President Xi Jinping had set a new goal of bringing bilateral trade to $250 billion per year.