Central Hunan Province’s trade with countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) posted robust growth in the first half of this year, official data showed Tuesday.

Trade with BRI countries totalled 51.46 billion yuan (7.48 billion U.S. dollars) during this period, up 53.6 percent year on year and outpacing the growth rate of the province’s total H1 trade by 13.5 percentage points, said Changsha Customs.

The total value of imports and exports in Hunan remained stable growth by expanding 40.1 percent year on year to 182.3 billion yuan. In June, the value exceeded 40 billion yuan, up 61.6 percent year on year.

According to Changsha Customs, the domestic economy was basically good in the first half of this year, which provided strong support for the province’s foreign trade development.

Besides, the enlarging “circle of friends” and diversified markets contributed to the booming growth of Hunan’s foreign trade.

Hong Kong remained the biggest trade partner of Hunan in the first six months, with the trade value increasing 64.1 percent to 27.35 billion yuan.

While the trade between the province and the European Union recorded 27.13 billion yuan, up 62.3 percent year on year.

The province witnessed its trade with Africa entering “the best stage” in history, up 45.6 percent year on year to 11.18 billion yuan.