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A gantry crane works on a China-Europe freight train at Suifenhe Railway Port in Suifenhe, northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, April 1, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

China's foreign trade moved up another notch in 2021 by exceeding 6 trillion U.S. dollars for the first time albeit the COVID-19 pandemic continued to weigh on the global trade, official data showed Friday.

Total goods trade amounted to 6.05 trillion U.S. dollars, up 1.4 trillion U.S. dollars from a year ago, according to the General Administration of Customs (GAC).

The trade volume in yuan terms expanded 21.4 percent year on year to 39.1 trillion yuan, with exports up 21.2 percent to 21.73 trillion yuan and imports up 21.5 percent to 17.37 trillion yuan.

"China has been at the forefront of economic development and pandemic response globally, and maintained a rapid growth in foreign trade, which registered a record high in volume and a steady progress in quality," GAC spokesperson Li Kuiwen said.

The country posted steady trade growth with all its five largest trading partners.

China's imports and exports with ASEAN, the European Union and the United States gained 19.7 percent, 19.1 percent and 20.2 percent, respectively, while its trade with Japan and the Republic of Korea climbed 9.4 percent and 18.4 percent.

Meanwhile, the country's trade with economies involved in the Belt and Road Initiative reported a higher-than-average increase of 23.6 percent.