HAVANA, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- The year 2016 saw the first year ever that China became Cuba's largest trading partner with bilateral trade reaching 2.585 billion U.S. dollars, according to a newly released report by the island's statistics, ONEI.
The commercial exchanges between Havana and Beijing saw Cuba import 2.328 billion U.S. dollars of goods from China and export goods worth 257 million U.S. dollars.
Cuban daily Juventud Rebelde wrote that "for the first time in history, in bilateral relations and in this century so far, the People's Republic of China became the first trading partner of Cuba in 2016 in terms of mutual trade of goods."
China took over from Venezuela, Cuba's traditional ally, given economic and political problems in the South American country.
Trade in goods between Venezuela and Cuba dropped by 70 percent last year to 2.224 billion U.S. dollars from 4.2 billion in 2016, and 7.3 billion in 2014.