Shandong sees growing trade with B&R countries in Q1

Containers are unloaded from a ship at a port of Qingdao, East China's Shandong province, on Feb 17, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)

Trade in East China's Shandong province with countries involved in the Belt and Road grew by 12 percent year-on-year in the first quarter to 145.4 billion yuan ($20.5 billion), according to Jinan Customs on Tuesday.

ASEAN was Shandong's largest trade partner during the first quarter, with imports and exports totaling 58.56 billion yuan, up 16.5 percent year-on-year, followed by Russia and India.

The resumption of China Railway Express, which operates international freight trains, bolstered the province's foreign trade, especially with countries involved in the Belt and Road. Trade generated through railway transportation with Belt and Road countries stood at 2.43 billion yuan, up 5 percent, customs data showed.

Growing trade volume with B&R countries was important for the stable development of Shandong's foreign trade in the first quarter, said Zhang Yibing, deputy head of Jinan Customs on Tuesday.

Influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic, total foreign trade in Shandong dropped by 3.6 percent year-on-year in the first quarter to 446.75 billion yuan.

But foreign trade started to recover in March as production was widely resumed, and total trade volume grew by 4.2 percent in March, Customs' data showed.