China’s trade with economies along the Belt and Road Initiative posted double-digital growth year-on-year in the first quarter of the year, the Ministry of Commerce said on April 27.
Sun Jiwen, the ministry’s spokesman, said trade in goods between China and the Belt and Road economies grew 26.2 percent in the first three months from the same period of last year.
China’s exports to these countries and regions rose by 15.8 percent from a year earlier, and imports grew by 42.9 percent, Sun told a news conference.
Thanks to the substantial progress made in big-ticket infrastructure projects, China’s products and services gained more popularity, Sun added.
He cited the ongoing China-Belarus industrial park and the Mombasa-Nairobi railway as examples.
The Belt and Road Initiative is President Xi Jinping’s signature global economic vision to promote the interconnectivity between Asia and the rest of the world through two ancient trade routes.
Similarly, two-way investment also showed an upward trend in the first quarter.
During the period, China’s non-financial outbound direct investment in 43 economies in the Belt and Road regions reached $2.95 billion, accounting for 14.4 percent of the country’s total, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce.
Correspondingly, those economies set up 781 new companies in China, up 40 percent year-on-year.
Experts said local companies were often exposed to greater unexpected legal and cultural obstacles, when they seek cross-border investment opportunities.
Risks in host countries included changing local policies and fluctuations in exchange rates, Feng Guanghua, chairman of the China Bond Rating Co Ltd, said at a recent meeting.
Qin Jian, senior assistant president of China Minsheng Investment Group, said on April 23 that local staff played a decisive role in facilitate companies’ efforts in investing abroad safely and sustainably.
A report, released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, predicted that China’s outbound direct investment in Belt and Road regions will maintain rapid growth this year.