China, Central Asian countries record strong trade: minister

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BEIJING, April 18 (Xinhua) -- Trade between China and five Central Asian countries, namely Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, has maintained robust growth momentum, China's Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao said Tuesday.

In the first two months of this year, trade between China and the five Central Asian countries surged 22 percent year on year, Wang revealed at a video-link meeting between the six countries' economic and trade ministers.

Trade between China and the five countries reached 70.2 billion U.S. dollars last year, a historic high, according to Wang. In 2022, China's imports of agricultural, energy and mineral products from these countries jumped over 50 percent, while its exports of mechanical and electronic products to them increased by 42 percent.

By the end of last year, China's direct investment stock in the five Central Asian countries reached nearly 15 billion dollars, with a number of cooperation projects launched in fields such as oil and gas exploration, processing and manufacturing, connectivity and digital technologies.

Wang said that China is willing to work with all sides to promote new patterns in trade and investment, pursue innovation as a development impetus, keep industrial and supply chains in the region secure and stable, uphold the multilateral trading system, and make interregional border trade a new growth engine.

Ministers of the five Central Asian countries expressed their willingness to join hands with China to strengthen cooperation on trade and investment, digital economy, green development and transit transportation.

Ministers of the six countries agreed at the meeting that certain outcome documents will be signed at the China-Central Asia Summit, and an e-commerce campaign will be launched to introduce Central Asian products to Chinese consumers. Enditem

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