China's trade and investment with countries along the Belt and Road jumped last year, the Ministry of Commerce said yesterday.
China's trade with countries along the Belt and Road rose 17.8 percent year on year in 2017 to 7.4 trillion yuan (.16 trillion), 3.6 percentage points faster than the overall growth of China's foreign trade.
Exports jumped 12.1 percent while imports surged 26.8 percent, said ministry spokesman Gao Feng at a briefing in Beijing.
Chinese companies made .4 billion in foreign direct investment in B&R countries, and signed new engineering contracts worth 4.3 billion, an increase of 14.5 percent from 2016.
Large scale projects have been completed or started in Kenya, Laos, Thailand, Hungary, Serbia, and Pakistan. Economic zones in Belarus and Egypt have been held up as examples of economic and trade cooperation along the B&R.
China has also signed free trade agreements with Georgia and Maldives, and talks have been started with Moldova and Mauritius.
Chinese companies have deepened economic links with Belt and Road countries after authorities tightened scrutiny and limited investments in real estate, hotels, cinemas, and entertainment, while those in sectors such as gambling would be banned.
The Belt and Road initiative was broached by President Xi Jinping in 2013 to boost economic links between China and countries in Central Asia, the Middle East, East Europe, Southeast Asia and Africa.