Central & Western China saw robust foreign trade in the first ten months of this year, thanks to the efforts to tap the potential, accelerate the promotion of special products export and optimize the pattern of regional development, according to the data released on Saturday by the General Administration of Customs.

Data show that the provinces of Sichuan, Guizhou, Jiangxi and Anhui as well as Chongqing Municipality ranked top five in terms of the growth rate of imports and exports. Central and western China have continuously given full play to their respective advantages and have adequately tapped the potential for foreign trade. The proportion of foreign trade in the local economy in these two regions is continuously increasing.

According to the statistics from the General Administration of Customs, in the first 10 months, the import and export volume of China’s central and western regions totaled 4.45 trillion yuan (about 667.5 billion U.S. dollars), up 8.5 percent year on year. Its proportion of the local economies saw a 1.2 percentage point increase from the same period last year to 17.2 percent.

The wool export volume through land ports Zhangmu and Gyirong in southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region went up remarkably. The wool of Titan sheep unique to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is particularly popular in several South Asian countries, because of its excellent elasticity and superior quality. It is mainly used for traditional handmade products in the Himalayan region, such as shawl, scarf and carpet.

“Due to the high elevation in Tibet, the hair of sheep is relatively long, with a higher content of cashmere. So, our Tibetan wool is very popular in Nepal and many other countries, so we have about 1,500 tons of orders this year, and the business is better than last year,” said Sonam Palden, director of a trading company in Tibet.

The export volume of special agricultural and pasture products from Tibet like yak wool, matsutake, highland barley products and glacier water is also increasing year by year. While promoting the development of traditional agricultural and pasture products, Tibet has also tapped the potential to boost the deep processing industry.

Taking advantages of the policies for the Integrated Free Trade Zone, Tibet has built an industrial base for wool products and organic beverage industry, which has greatly increased the added value of products and boosted exports.

“By supporting major enterprises with speciality products that have trade relations with countries along with the Belt & Road, Tibet’s resource advantages of special agricultural and pasture products have gradually transformed into the competitive advantages of export.

In the first 10 months this year, the export of special products in Tibet exceeded 40 million yuan (about six million U.S. dollars), accounting for about five percent of the total export value.

The proportion is increasing year by year, which means that special agricultural and pasture products have become an important factor for the foreign trade growth in Tibet,” said Sonam Norbu, Deputy Head of Lasa Customs.

“In the first 10 months, the growth rate of foreign trade in the central and western regions was 8.5 percent, 7.4 percentage points higher than the national growth rate.

The central and western regions accelerated the process of all-round opening up and made new progress in accepting industrial transfer from the east, resulting in better coordinated regional development.

These two regions have become an important force in stabilizing the development of China’s foreign trade,” said Li Kuiwen, Director of the Department of Statistics & Analysis of the General Administration of Customs.