Zhanjiang Special / News

City looks beyond borders to advance BRI

By HAO NAN |  China Daily |  Updated:2023-10-17

Zhanjiang adopts international perspective to assist trade, development

Zhanjiang has been pulling out all the stops to advance the development of the Belt and Road Initiative over the past decade, local officials said.

During the process, the city in South China's Guangdong province has been strengthening economic, trade and personnel exchanges and cooperation with BRI-involved countries and regions, accelerating infrastructure construction, improving investment and financing systems, and boosting people-to-people connectivity.

Zhanjiang is the closest prefecture-level city in Guangdong to Vietnam, a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. It is also a pivotal city in the Belt and Road Initiative regarding maritime cooperation.

Backed by convenient transportation and continuously improving infrastructure, the city has witnessed growing momentum in economic and trade cooperation with countries and regions involved in the initiative.

According to statistics of Zhanjiang Customs, the city's combined import and export values pertaining to Belt and Road countries and regions increased from 18.58 billion yuan ($2.55 billion) in 2013 to 32.03 billion yuan in 2022, with an average annual growth rate of 7.1 percent.

In the first eight months of this year, Zhanjiang generated foreign trade with BRI-involved countries and regions valued at 21.87 billion yuan.

Of the total, exports were worth 7.69 billion yuan, up 9 percent year-on-year, and imports totaled 14.18 billion yuan.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative being proposed. Over the past decade, related foreign trade commodities of Zhanjiang have been gradually diversified, ranging from labor-intensive products, electromechanical products and aquatic products to steel, household appliances, and furniture and parts.

In the first eight months of this year, Zhanjiang exported 2.51 billion yuan worth of steel to BRI-involved countries and regions, up 9.6 percent from a year ago; 880 million yuan worth of household appliances, up 6.4 percent; and 410 million yuan worth of furniture and parts, up 46.8 percent, customs statistics indicate.

From January to August, the city imported 2.77 billion yuan of agricultural products; 1.4 billion yuan of coal and lignite; 1.06 billion yuan of metal ore; and 1.01 billion yuan of potassium chloride.

The number of BRI-involved countries that have trade relations with the city has added up to 134 to date from 125 in 2013.

From this year on, Zhanjiang will explore broader cooperation with European countries, especially Germany; promote the establishment of friendly-city relationships with its counterparts in Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia and Kazakhstan and deepen cooperation with ASEAN, the European Union, Japan, South Korea and the South Pacific.

The city also plans to develop more shipping routes to ASEAN and other Belt and Road countries and regions, and is promoting the construction of an airport economic demonstration zone and Zhanjiang airport expressways.

The building of large export-oriented processing zones is another highlight of the city's development plan in the coming years. The project aims to develop new cooperation forms and high-quality cooperation platforms in trade and economy with the 10 member states of ASEAN, according to the city government.




Zhanjiang, a coastal city in Guangdong province, leverages its proximity to the ASEAN region to enhance trade and economic exchanges with the association's member countries and integrate itself into the development of the Belt and Road Initiative. CHINA DAILY

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