(ECNS) -- The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has overtaken the U.S. as China's second-largest trade partner, with Chinese imports and exports to ASEAN up 14.1 percent to reach 4.43 trillion yuan ($642.5 billion) in 2019, data released by General Administration of Customs (GACC) revealed Tuesday.
China saw foreign trade increase 3.4 percent to exceed 31 trillion yuan last year, and is expected to remain the world's largest trader in goods.
This is due to closer economic and trade cooperation with ASEAN and Chinese industrial upgrading, said Peng Bo, a researcher at Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.
European Union remained China's biggest trading partner, with an 8-percent year-on-year growth to 4.86 trillion yuan in bilateral trade.
China's imports and exports to the U.S. totaled 3.73 trillion yuan, down 10.7 percent in 2019, but imports from the U.S. saw recovery in growth from November to December, with the figure up 9.1 percent year-on-year to reach 78.83 billion yuan in December.
The stable, long-term trend and strong overall resilience of the Chinese economy have ensured the steady growth of foreign trade, said Zou Zhiwu, vice director of GACC.