URUMQI, April 30 (Xinhua) -- The foreign trade of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region surpassed 4.8 billion U.S. dollars in Q1, up more than 65 percent year-on-year.
Exports during the period reached 4.1 billion U.S. dollars, expanding 64.5 percent from a year ago, and imports increased 72.4 percent, according to Urumqi customs.
Xinjiang's trade with Russia, Mongolia, Pakistan and five Central Asian countries along the Belt and Road accounted for more than 66 percent of the region's foreign trade. Its trade with Kazakhstan was nearly doubled the number in Q1 last year.
Xinjiang's exports of mechanical and electrical products, textiles and shoes, continued to grow rapidly due to improved demand in nearby markets. The region's import growth was driven by its demand for farm produce from neighboring countries.
Booming cross-border RMB settlement has helped Xinjiang enterprises expand abroad. As of February, Xinjiang had conducted the service with 86 countries and regions, with settlement amount surpassing 220 billion yuan (32 billion U.S. dollars)
Located at the core of the Silk Road Economic Belt, Xinjiang has an improving transportation network with neighboring countries. Local authorities are working on a tripartite agreement which will allow freight vehicles departing from Xinjiang to reach Russia via Mongolia.
The Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China in 2013 consists of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road. It aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along, and beyond, the ancient Silk Road trade routes.