Zhanjiang Special / News

Forging strong bonds with ASEAN member countries

By YUAN SHENGGAO |  China Daily |  Updated:2023-10-17

Since the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership came into force in 2022, Zhanjiang, a coastal city in Guangdong province, has expanded trade and industrial cooperation with RCEP members.

The RCEP is a free-trade agreement involving Australia, China, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. It is the world's largest free trade bloc covering about 30 percent of the world's population, as well as 30 percent of the world's economic and trade volume.

As the closest prefecture-level city in South China's Guangdong province to the region covered by the Association of Southeast Asia Nations, Zhanjiang enjoys a prime location for economic exchanges.

As Guangdong's only industrial park targeting ASEAN investments, the Fenyong ASEAN Industrial Park provides a crucial platform for high-level opening-up and cooperation, local officials said.

In mid-June, a China-Malaysia technological innovation incubation center was inaugurated in the industrial park, creating an important venue for Zhanjiang to enhance exchanges with Malaysia and other ASEAN members.

"The incubation center provides services such as project docking and business visits for foreign-funded companies. Currently, it has drawn multiple Malaysian businesses to settle," said an official with the Fenyong industrial park's administrative committee.

The official added that the incubation center will introduce cooperation with innovative companies from Malaysia and other ASEAN countries, promote bilateral investments in technology and agriculture, and provide platform-based services for foreign-funded enterprises.

The park will assist in project docking, talent exchange and business visits. It will provide trade, investment and financial support services to promote collaborations between the park as well as businesses in western Guangdong and ASEAN members. The goal is to advance the construction of a modern industrial system, create an international cooperation platform and promote high-quality development in leaps and bounds, he noted.

The synergetic development park of China-Vietnam (Shenzhen-Haiphong) Economic and Trade Cooperation Park was opened in the city on Aug 1.

The synergistic development park will cash in on the industrial complementarity, and the solid foundation of the industrial chain and supply chain in the Pearl River Delta and Vietnam, as well as logistics advantages by virtue of Wushi Harbor nearby, so as to build a China-Vietnam double-circulation industrial cooperation zone and become a facilitator of trade and economic cooperation with ASEAN.

"We will focus on BASF's customized technology for engineering plastic foams and Baosteel Zhanjiang's high-quality steel to drive the development of supporting industries, establish a production capacity foundation and promote the industrial layout of the new energy vehicle manufacturing sector," said the official at the Fenyong industrial park.

The industrial park will ramp up industrial incubation; develop a high-quality modern industry system focused on new energy, new materials, equipment manufacturing, new-type energy storage and modern logistics as pillar sectors; and foster four major industrial clusters in new energy, new materials, equipment manufacturing and modern logistics, each capable of generating 10 billion yuan ($1.37 billion) in annual output value, he said.

Government data show that the industrial park signed six investment projects in 2022. They involve a combined investment value of 6.5 billion yuan, up 160 percent year-on-year. Once operational, their annual output value is expected to reach 19.8 billion yuan.

As of June, some 50 businesses have settled in the park, with the pillar industries of new materials, iron and steel sector-support businesses, food and pharmaceuticals taking basic shape.

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