BEIJING, May 20 (Xinhua) -- China's economic and trade ties with countries along the Belt and Road have strengthened significantly over the past decade, an official said Friday.
"Despite the protracted COVID-19 pandemic and complicated international situation, the building of the Belt and Road Initiative continues to demonstrate strong resilience and vitality, injecting strong impetus into global openness and cooperation and world economic recovery," Sheng Qiuping, vice minister of commerce, told a press conference.
From 2013 to 2021, the annual trade volume between China and countries along the Belt and Road expanded from 1.04 trillion U.S. dollars to 1.8 trillion dollars, marking an increase of 73 percent, Sheng said.
During this period, China's direct investment in countries along the Belt and Road totaled 161.3 billion dollars, while 32,000 enterprises were established in China by these countries, with a combined investment of 71.2 billion dollars, Sheng added.
China signed new contracts worth about 1.08 trillion dollars with countries along the Belt and Road in the period for engineering projects in transportation, electricity and other areas, he said.
In the first four months of this year, China's imports and exports with countries along the Belt and Road jumped 15.4 percent year on year to 3.97 trillion yuan (about 588 billion dollars), 7.5 percentage points higher than the overall growth of China's foreign trade, said Wang Lingjun, deputy head of the General Administration of Customs.