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China’s new Silk Road trade expands to over $600 billion in first half of 2019

China’s new Silk Road trade expands to over $600 billion in first half of 2019
China’s trade with countries participating in its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has been expanding and reached 4.24 trillion yuan ($617.5 billion) in the first half of this year.

Customs data showed trade with BRI countries for the period was up 9.7 percent year-on-year. It has outpaced the growth rate of China’s total trade, which remained stable at 3.9 percent.

Exports and imports with Russia, Saudi Arabia and Egypt were up by 11.5 percent, 34 percent, and 11 percent respectively.

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China’s Ministry of Commerce said last week that the country has inked agreements on BRI cooperation with 18 Arab countries. In 2018, trade turnover between China and Arab states reached $244.3 billion, ballooning 28 percent year-on-year.

Dubbed the 21st century Silk Road project, the BRI was announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping six years ago. Since then, Beijing has signed 173 agreements with 125 countries, including developed and developing countries, and 29 international organizations.

READ MORE: Russia & China enjoying best trade and economic ties ever – Putin

The multi-trillion-dollar initiative aims to boost connectivity and cooperation between Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America. Experts say it will significantly boost global commerce, cutting trading costs by half for the countries involved.

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