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Ningbo exports surge 10.4% in March despite epidemic


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Ningbo exports grows 10.4 percent year-on-year to 69.38 billion yuan in March, despite the fact that the epidemic is continuing to ravage the world. [Photo/cnnb.com.cn]

Ningbo exports grew 10.4 percent year-on-year to 69.38 billion yuan ($10.05 billion) in March despite the epidemic ravaging the world, data from Ningbo Customs show.

The city's imports stood at 54.42 billion yuan in the past month. Its foreign trade volume in the first quarter shrank 10.3 year-on-year to 184.22 billion yuan. 

Private companies and foreign-invested companies still account for the lion's share of Ningbo's foreign trade. 

Official data shows that the trade value of private businesses in Q1 surged 10.9 percent to 45.86 billion yuan, while the figure for foreign-invested companies was 18.01 billion yuan, representing a yearly uptick of 9.5 percent. 

The combined trade value of the two accounted for 92.1 percent of the city's total in the first three months of this year.

Exports of commodities such as medical supplies and mechanical and electrical products both registered growth in March.

The city's daily production capacity of face masks has increased from 700,000 to 27 million. 

In March, its exports of medical protective equipment exceeded $30 million.

In the same month, Ningbo exported 23.59-billion-yuan worth of mechanical and electrical products, up four percent year-on-year, accounting for 55.9 percent of the city's total exports in the same period. 

Exports of high-tech products totaled 4.01 billion yuan, up 10.9 percent, while imports were valued at 3.07 billion yuan, up 27.3 percent. 

Notably, the EU (excluding the UK) and the US were still the city's two largest trading partners in Q1. Trade with the US saw a rise of 12.4 percent to 9.81 billion yuan in March. 

Belt and Road countries have become a new driving force behind the growth of foreign trade in the city. 

In March, Ningbo's imports and exports with BRI countries jumped 12.5 percent to 21.58 billion yuan, accounting for 31.1 percent of the city's total. 

The rise in exports in March is largely due to efforts made to help enterprises resume production, noted a senior official from the Ningbo municipal bureau of commerce. 

The epidemic is still spreading overseas, he said, adding that insufficient external demand will be a major challenge for foreign trade companies.

The city will make greater efforts to help companies weather the crisis by offering them support in terms of financing, customs clearance and legal assistance, he said.