BEIJING, May 8 (Xinhua) -- China's foreign trade saw steady development and structure improvement in the first four months of this year as the sector seeks high-quality growth.
The country's foreign trade of goods climbed 4.3 percent year on year during this period to 9.51 trillion yuan (about 1.41 trillion U.S. dollars), customs data showed Wednesday.
Exports increased by 5.7 percent year on year to 5.06 trillion yuan during this period, while imports went up by 2.9 percent to 4.45 trillion yuan, the General Administration of Customs (GAC) said.
Foreign trade maintained good momentum of steady growth in the Jan.-April period despite a complicated and grim external environment, and trade structure keeps improving, said Li Kuiwen, director of the GAC's statistics and analysis department.
MOVING UP THE VALUE CHAIN
April trade expanded by 6.5 percent to reach 2.51 trillion yuan. Exports grew by 3.1 percent in yuan terms last month, while imports jumped by 10.3 percent, 10 percentage points faster than growth in the first quarter, GAC data showed.
Trade surplus stood at 93.57 billion yuan in April, shrinking by 43.8 percent year on year.
General trade grew faster than processing trade during the Jan.-April period, which also saw an increasing share in China's total trade volume.
Exports of some mechanical and electrical products with relatively high value-added, such as solar cells and medical devices, maintained robust growth.
Imports of planes and aquatic products climbed by 19.5 percent and 46.1 percent year on year respectively in the first four months.
TAPPING THE EMERGING MARKETS
The European Union was China's largest trading partner during this period, followed by the ASEAN, the United States and Japan.
Trade with Belt and Road countries totaled 2.73 trillion yuan, up 9.1 percent year on year, more than doubling the overall pace.
Chinese enterprises are also increasing their trade with emerging markets. Trade with the ASEAN, Latin America and Africa grew 9 percent, 15.1 percent and 8.9 percent respectively.
Over 50 freight trains loaded with cars, home appliances and other high-value-added products have been shipped to Russia, Central Asia and other regions from Shandong Province's capital city Jinan so far this year, according to Geng Lei, general manager of the local logistics company which runs the freight trains.
"The first quarter of this year saw 38 such freight trains, already surpassing the total of last year. The growth momentum is gathered more markedly in April, as almost one freight train is shipped each day," Geng said.