Business / Economy

Guangdong to expand trade ties with ASEAN

By Li Wenfang in Zhanjiang ( Updated: 2014-12-02 14:53

Emerging port city of Zhanjiang in Guangdong province is looking to benefit from the country's 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road strategy and enhance connectivity with Southeast Asia.

Wang Zhongbing, the mayor, said this at a press conference held on Tuesday at the five-day 2014 China Ocean Economy Expo, which will open in Zhanjiang on Wednesday.

Air connectivity with Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will be strengthened after the city's airport is relocated.

With a line already operating between Zhanjiang and Singapore, direct shipping routes with ASEAN members will be increased, Wang said.

Thriving ties with these nations is reflected in the 52 percent growth in container throughput at Zhanjiang port in the first 10 months of this year, which was largely driven by trade with the block.

Zhanjiang port serves major ocean-going shipping traffic in southwestern and southern China and offers one of the shortest routes between the Chinese mainland and Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe and Oceania.

As zero tariff trade arrangement under the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area agreement is expected to expand, Zhanjiang is poised to see more robust trade with the bloc.

Almost all consul generals of ASEAN members in Guangzhou will attend the 2014 China Ocean Economy Expo, Wang said.

Zhanjiang is stepping up the cooperation with other cities in the Beibu Bay rim.

Cities in the Beibu rim have both competitive and cooperative relations. According to Wang, there are already cooperation's in the fields of port development, transport facilities and social management.

Zhanjiang aspires to become a pilot city, integrating the development of both land and sea areas, which, if realized, should unleash greater potential of the city, said Wang.

The city is building up its transport network, including roads, high-speed railways, airport, shipping waterways and ports.

The event has been jointly organized by State Oceanic Administration and Guangdong provincial government.

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