The country's total imports and exports of goods surged 29.2 percent year on year to 8.47 trillion yuan (US$ 1.29 trillion) in the reporting period, said the General Administration of Customs (GAC).
Exports jumped 38.7 per cent from a year earlier and imports climbed 19.3 percent in yuan terms. The trade surplus expanded 690.6 percent to reach 759.29 billion yuan.
General trade, involving longer production chains and better reflecting the country's manufacturing strength, rose 32 per cent year on year to 5.19 trillion yuan, taking a larger share in the total trade of goods.
Private enterprises are now more vibrant and have become the main driving force behind China's foreign trade growth. Their foreign trade expanded by 42.7 per cent to 3.95 trillion yuan in the first quarter.
Mechanical and electrical products took the lion's share of the country's exports, with their export value hitting 2.78 trillion yuan, up 43 per cent year on year.
Imports of major commodities including iron ore, crude oil, natural gas, soybean, corn and wheat all increased in the first quarter.
Foreign trade in the country's comprehensive bonded zones and pilot free trade zones respectively increased 41.1 percent and 28.4 percent year on year.
Cross-border e-commerce, an emerging form of trade, has maintained the growth momentum of last year to become one of the main forces pushing the steady growth of China's foreign trade, according to the GAC.
The country's foreign trade from cross-border e-commerce hiked 46.5 percent to 419.5 billion yuan year on year in the first quarter.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations remained China's largest trading partner during the period, followed by the European Union and the United States, the GAC data showed.
In the first quarter, China's trade with countries along the Belt and Road rose 21.4 percent year on year to reach 2.5 trillion yuan. The country's imports and exports to Vietnam, Indonesia and Poland achieved relatively rapid growth.
China's trade with the 14 other members of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership amounted to 2.67 trillion yuan in the first quarter, up 22.9 percent year on year and accounting for 31.5 percent of its total imports and exports during the period.
Since the third quarter of last year, China's foreign trade has witnessed positive year-on-year growth for three consecutive quarters, and this trend is expected to continue for some time to come, GAC spokesperson Li Kuiwen told a news conference.
But he cautioned that foreign trade still faces instability and uncertainty as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage worldwide and the international economic landscape remains grim and complicated.
China's Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said earlier this month that the country will go all out to stabilize imports and exports.
The MOC will improve the country's trade policies and continue supporting enterprises by reducing their costs and improving efficiency.
It will also actively cooperate with relevant departments to increase high-quality product and service imports, said the MOC. - Xinhua