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China's Ministry of Commerce has said that it will take decisive measures to diversify trade, invest

China's Ministry of Commerce has said that it will take decisive measures to diversify trade, investment and ties with countries along the "One Belt, One Road" region and enable easier market access for foreign companies.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, the ministry's spokesman, Shen Danyang, released fresh data, showing that China's trade volume with the countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative had reached more than 485 billion US dollars in the first half of this year. That accounted for almost 26 percent of China's total trade volume during the period.

"In the foreign investment sector, 948 new enterprises were established in China with investments from the countries in the One Belt, One Road region. That's a growth of 10.62% from a year ago. The actual investment value reached 3.67 billion US dollars, up 4.15% year-on-year," Shen said.

According to the ministry, Chinese companies have made direct investments of about 7 billion US dollars in 48 countries in the region. Most of the investments went to Singapore, Indonesia, Laos, Russia, Kazakhstan and Thailand.

Over 1,400 new construction projects have been undertaken by Chinese enterprises in the first six months of the year. Newly-inked contracts are worth about 38 billion US dollars, with deals in sectors such as electrical engineering, communications, transportation and construction.

The spokesman said that to promote steady growth in imports and exports, the Chinese government will also encourage the import of advanced technology, while strengthening the implementation of relevant policies to help foreign trade companies and promote stable growth.

Also on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that China is keen to build linkages between its Maritime Silk Road project and ASEAN nations. Wang's remarks came at the sidelines of the 48th ASEAN foreign ministers' meeting in Kuala Lumpur.

He said that it was important for the ASEAN Community to discuss and construct the Maritime Silk Road together, in order to share and enjoy the benefits together, since China was seeking shared development and common prosperity. (Click the video above to watch more) 

The Belt and Road Initiative, first proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, encompasses both the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

Over the past two years, the initiative has been designed, its framework established and the initial stage of practical cooperation put into place.

The Initiative is expected to benefit billions of people and covers some of the world's biggest markets. China says it aims to enhance infrastructure connectivity, energy, finance and people's livelihood along the routes. (Edited By Wang Mingyan)


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