TIANJIN — The northern Chinese port city of Tianjin, a crossroads of land and sea routes for the Belt and Road (B&R) Initiative, witnessed a 10.2-percent year-on-year growth in trade with B&R countries in the first quarter despite the impact of the coronavirus epidemic.

The trade volume between Tianjin and B&R countries reached 40.8 billion yuan (about $5.8 billion) during the period, accounting for 26 percent of the city’s total foreign trade, the Tianjin Customs said Wednesday.

The city’s exports to B&R countries totaled 21.4 billion yuan in the first quarter, while imports totaled 19.4 billion yuan during the same period.

Private enterprises have become a new engine to drive Tianjin’s trade growth with B&R countries. Trade volume with B&R countries by private enterprises in Tianjin rose 17.6 percent year on year to 15.3 billion yuan from January to March.

Mechanical and electrical products topped the list of export commodities in Tianjin from January to March, accounting for 70.6 percent of the total exports to these countries.

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