yuan, while imports surged 22.3 percent to 9.13 trillion yuan.
The number of buyers from the United Arab Emirates
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, China's second-largest trading partner in the Middle East, increased 5 percent.
Mohamed Alzaabi, a director with the UAE Ministry of Economy, said the UAE had sent groups to the fair since 2007, and that all members hoped for business cooperation with China.
He said that more than 4,000 Chinese enterprises had operations in the UAE, with bilateral trade reaching 46 billion U.S. dollars in 2016.
Proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013
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, the Belt and Road Initiative aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along -- and beyond -- the ancient Silk Road trade routes. The modern version comprises an overland Silk Road Economic Belt and a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
As the Belt and Road Initiative advances, China has signed a number of infrastructure construction deals with related countries, including Thailand, Bangladesh, Greece and Kenya.
The construction deals drive up demand for China's construction machinery.
Wang Falin, an official with the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products, said China's exports of construction machinery were expected to see steady growth as the countries along the Belt and Road started to improve their infrastructure.
China Chamber of Commerce of Metals
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, Minerals & Chemicals Imports & Exports said its members had reported remarkable growth in transaction value with countries such as Uzbekistan, Nepal and Serbia.
Tianjin Minmetals, one of the traders, has even set up sales representative offices in Pakistan and Sri Lanka.