CHANGSHA — Changsha Customs in Central China’s Hunan province said the province’s trade with countries along the Belt and Road (B&R) grew by 18.5 percent year-on-year in the first quarter to 25.7 billion yuan (about $3.6 billion).

Hunan’s total trade volume reached 83.6 billion yuan in the first three months of the year, up 5.4 percent compared with the same period of 2019. Its exports dropped by 4.4 percent to 51.8 billion yuan, while its imports surged by 26.5 percent to 31.8 billion yuan from January to March.

The ASEAN became Hunan’s largest trade partner during the quarter, with imports and exports totaled 12.5 billion yuan, up 18.7 percent year-on-year, followed by the EU, the United States and the Republic of Korea.

According to the customs, the growing trade volume with B&R countries was important for the stable development of Hunan’s foreign trade in the first quarter, especially in March, when enterprises began to clear backlogged export orders as the COVID-19 epidemic wanes in the country.

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