China’s Foreign Trade Volume totalled 6.57 trillion yuan (approx. 930 billion U.S. dollars) in the first quarter of this year, falling 6.4 percent year on year, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Official Data showed on Tuesday.

Exports dropped by 11.4 percent year on year in the first three months to 3.33 trillion yuan (approx. 472.7 billion U.S. dollars), and imports edged down 0.7 percent to 3.24 trillion yuan (approx. 459.9 billion U.S. dollars), according to the General Administration of Customs (GAC).

However, the Country’s imports and exports rebounded to 2.45 trillion yuan (approx. 347.7 billion U.S. dollars) in March, reversing the downturn affected by COVID-19 in the first two months.

“The Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council have rolled out a slew of incentive measures to stabilise foreign trade growth, and the governments at different levels have introduced multiple measures to facilitate the resumption of work and production by domestic enterprises in an orderly manner.

Though the foreign trade volume declined 6.4 percent in the first quarter, the contraction narrowed by 3.1 percentage points compared with the corresponding numbers from the first two months, meaning the Foreign Trade has rebounded to some extent,” Li Kuiwen, Director of the GAC’s Statistics & Analysis Department, said at a Press Conference in Beijing.

In the meantime, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) replaced the European Union to become China’s largest trading partner. China’s foreign trade with ASEAN registered 991.34 billion yuan (approx. 140.7 billion U.S. dollars) in the January-March period, an increase of 6.1 percent on a yearly basis.

China’s trade volume with the EU was down 10.4 percent to 875.93 billion yuan (approx. 124.3 billion U.S. dollars) while its trade with the United States dropped 18.3 percent to 668.01 billion yuan (approx. 94.8 billion U.S. dollars).

In the first three months, China’s Foreign Trade with economies related to the Belt & Road Initiative rose 3.2 percent on a yearly basis to 2.07 trillion yuan (approx. 293.8 billion U.S. dollars).