Ningbo Zhoushan Port is one of the fastest growing ports in the world, with the combined sea-river transportation reaching 200 million tons.(Photo/Shanghai Daily)
Ningbo, in Zhejiang Province, saw a dazzling trade performance in the first half of this year thanks to its palce in China's Belt and Road Initiative as well as the improving global demand for goods from this coastal city.
Foreign trade in Ningbo reached 362.06 billion yuan (.6 billion) in the first six months, up 26.2 percent from a year earlier.
Exports increased 18.3 percent year on year to 238.52 billion yuan and imports jumped 44.9 percent to 123.54 billion yuan, according to the Ningbo Commission of Commerce.
With a consecutive monthly growth rate of more than 10 percent between January and June, Ningbo's total foreign trade volume ranked ninth among Chinese cities and first in Zhejiang Province for the first half.
The city's exports now account for 3.3 percent of China's total and 25.7 percent of that in Zhejiang Province, the commission said.
"It is the best performance that Ningbo has achieved in recent years," said commission deputy director Gang Yong, noting Ningbo's export growth was the fastest among eastern coastal cities.
Gang said improving demand in the global market contributed to the strong performance of foreign trade in Ningbo, especially in markets related to the Belt and Road Initiative, which involves more than 65 countries.
The commission said foreign trade volume between Ningbo and countries related to the Belt and Road Initiative reached 98.3 billion yuan in the first half, up 28 percent from a year earlier. It accounted for 27.2 percent of the city's total foreign trade volume. Exports to those related countries amounted to 63.59 billion, which made up a large proportion.
Part of Belt and Road Initiative, central and eastern European countries (known as CEEC) such as Poland and Hungary, used to be a low-key group in China's trade.
To make these places a new growth driver, Ningbo has hosted the China-CEEC Investment and Trade Expo for three consecutive years since 2015. The efforts have paid off.
The trade volume between Ningbo and CEEC reached 9.47 billion yuan by the end of June this year, up 31.5 percent from a year earlier. Imports were up 89 percent and exports rose 26.3 percent.
The EU, US and Asian countries remained Ningbo's major trading partners, worth 75.21, 64.58 and 30.68 billion yuan respectively, up 19.2 percent, 26.7 percent and 24.5 percent from a year earlier, according to Ningbo Customs.
"The foreign trade volume of our company reached US6 million in the first half and exports increased by 3.26 percent year on year to .59 million," said Gu Weijun, the general manager of Ningbo Huamao International Trading Co Ltd.