Central Asia: Trade With China Registers Strong Growth During First Half Of 2023


By Justin Burke

(Eurasianet) — China’s General Administration of Customs (GTU) has released trade data for the first half of 2023 involving Central Asian nations, and to no one’s surprise Turkmenistan is the only one of the five with a favorable trade balance with the PRC. Overall, China exported about $26.4 billion in goods to Central Asia during the first six months of the year, while registering almost $13.5 billion in imports, led by oil and natural gas.

Uzbekistan so far is the only Central Asian state to post trade statistics for the H1 2023 period. In keeping with a trend, the Uzbek figures diverge from China’s. According to the GTU, trade turnover with Uzbekistan increased by 26.8 percent compared to the same period in 2022, reaching almost $6.1 billion. Chinese exports to Uzbekistan totaled about $5.46 billion, while imports amounted to roughly $629 million.

Meanwhile, Uzbekistan’s Statistics Agency reported about $5.26 billion in trade turnover, with Uzbekistan importing $4.23 billion in Chinese goods and services, and exports to China totaling roughly  $1.03 billion. 

The GTU trade figures show sharp increases in China’s H1 commerce with other Central Asian states, compared to the same period in 2022: 

  • Kazakhstan: trade turnover rose by 26.8 percent to $18.25 billion; exports to Kazakhstan reached $10.63 billion, imports $7.62 billion.
  • Kyrgyzstan: turnover increased by 27.6 percent to $7.92 billion; exports to the KyrgyzRepublic totaled $7.89 billion, imports $26 million.
  • Tajikistan: turnover skyrocketed 84.7 percent to $2.11 billion; exports to Tajikistan hit $1.96 billion, imports $152 million.
  • Turkmenistan: turnover rose by 12.3 percent to $5.55 billion; exports to Turkmenistan measured $476 million, imports $5.076 billion, of which gas supplies accounted for $5.058 billion.

Justin Burke is Eurasianet’s publisher.


Originally published at Eurasianet. Eurasianet is an independent news organization that covers news from and about the South Caucasus and Central Asia, providing on-the-ground reporting and critical perspectives on the most important developments in the region. A tax-exempt [501(c)3] organization, Eurasianet is based at Columbia University’s Harriman Institute, one of the leading centers in North America of scholarship on Eurasia. Read more at eurasianet.org.

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