BEIJING, March 2 -- Economic and trade ties between China and countries along the Belt and Road have grown significantly over the past decade, a commerce official said on Thursday.
China's trade in goods with Belt and Road countries doubled from 1.04 trillion U.S. dollars in 2013 to 2.07 trillion U.S. dollars in 2022, with an average annual growth rate of 8 percent, Chen Chunjiang, assistant minister of commerce, said at a press conference.
Two-way investment between China and Belt and Road countries exceeded 270 billion U.S. dollars during the period, Chen said.
By the end of 2022, Chinese enterprises had invested 57.13 billion U.S. dollars in economic and trade cooperation zones in countries along the Belt and Road, creating 421,000 jobs for local residents, he said.
Proposed by China in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
Going ahead, China will expand imports of quality goods, improve its two-way investment structure and conclude free trade agreements with more countries along the Belt and Road, Chen said.
He added that China will actively negotiate and sign bilateral cooperation agreements on green development, digital economy and blue economy with countries along the Belt and Road.
China will also strengthen cooperation with countries along the Belt and Road in areas including poverty reduction, health and education, and initiate more "small but beautiful" projects to enhance local people's sense of accomplishment, Chen said.