China has inked trade deals worth USD 390 billion with the countries participating in its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative in the first four months of this year, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce has said. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a pet initiative of Chinese President Xi Jinping was proposed in 2013, and five years on, over 100 countries and international organisations have supported and got involved in this initiative. The BRI aims to build trade and infrastructure networks connecting economies around the globe along the ancient Silk Route. "China and countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative inked trade deals worth USD 389.1 billion in the first four months. It represented a growth of 19.2 per cent year on year," Commerce ministry spokesperson, Gao Feng was quoted as saying by state-run Xinhua in a Global Times report. China's non-financial investment in those countries increased 17.3 per cent from the same period a year ago to USD 4.67 billion, the spokesperson said, adding that business volume of outbound contract projects came in at USD 24.2 billion, up 27.7 per cent year on year. China held the first round of free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with Mauritius and the second round of FTA talks with Pakistan. It also signed an economic and trade cooperation pact with the Eurasian Economic Union. The FTA reached between China and Georgia has become effective. "Construction of major projects have progressed well with a range of railways and infrastructures going smoothly," Gao said. By the end of April, China had built 75 economic and trade cooperation zones along the Belt and Road countries with accumulated investment of USD 25.5 billion, the report said. More than 3,800 companies have joined the cooperation zones, paying nearly $1.7 billion in tax revenue and generating nearly 220,000 jobs, it said.