BEIJING, May 7 (Xinhua) -- China's exports of goods rebounded in April, adding to signs that the country's foreign trade is stabilizing amid further containment of COVID-19.
The country's exports rose 8.2 percent year on year to 1.41 trillion yuan (about 198.8 billion U.S. dollars) in April, compared with a drop of 11.4-percent in the first quarter, the General Administration of Customs (GAC) said Thursday.
Imports fell 10.2 percent to 1.09 trillion yuan last month, resulting in a trade surplus of 318.15 billion yuan.
Foreign trade of goods inched down 0.7 percent year on year in April to 2.5 trillion yuan, narrowing from a drop of 6.4-percent in Q1.
In the first four months, foreign trade of goods totaled 9.07 trillion yuan, down 4.9 percent year on year.
The rebound in exports showed the strong resilience of China's economy and robust external demand for China-manufactured goods, said Zhuang Rui, vice head of the Institute of International Economy at the University of International Business and Economics.
The country's foreign trade took a hit from COVID-19 as factories shut down and foreign orders declined.
Bucking the trend, China's trade with ASEAN and countries along the Belt and Road maintained steady growth.
During the January-April period, ASEAN retained China's largest trading partner with trade up 5.7 percent year on year to 1.35 trillion yuan, accounting for 14.9 percent of China's total foreign trade volume.
Combined trade with countries along the Belt and Road picked up 0.9 percent to 2.76 trillion yuan, accounting for 30.4 percent of the total, an increase of 1.7 percentage points year on year.
Imports and exports of goods with the European Union, the United States and Japan decreased during the period, GAC data showed.
Private enterprises were the biggest contributor to China's foreign trade in the first four months, with its foreign trade volume expanding by 0.5 percent to 3.92 trillion yuan.
China has rolled out a string of policies to help foreign trade firms resume production amid further containment of COVID-19.
Incentives were introduced to cut the costs of firms and help them obtain cheaper loans, while administrative processes at customs were further streamlined to encourage exports and imports.
The China-Europe cargo train services have become an important logistics channel to ensure smooth trade as air, sea and road transportation have been severely affected by the epidemic.
From January to April, a total of 2,920 China-Europe freight trains transported cargo of 262,000 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units), up 24 percent and 27 percent from a year earlier, respectively.
Noting that the epidemic has brought mounting uncertainties to trade, Ni Yuefeng, head of the GAC, said that the country will further expand its policy package to counter the impact of COVID-19 and boost long-term stable growth of foreign trade.