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Xi'an zone aims to boost Belt and Road plan

By Lu Hongyan and Ma Lie report | China Daily | Updated: 2015-09-22 07:02

City capitalizes on logistics advantages, Lu Hongyan and Ma Lie report.

The Xi'an International Trade and Logistics Park, a land port in the capital city of inland Shaanxi province in Northwest China, aims to boost trade with other countries and regions along the Silk Road with its geographic advantages.

The city and province are not near the coast, border or large rivers but, as the starting point of the ancient Silk Road and the geographic center of China, Xi'an is seeking to turn its geographic advantages to transport and logistics advantages in advancing the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping two years ago, said Han Song, member of the standing committee of Xi'an Party committee and Party chief of Xi'an International Trade and Logistics Park's management committee.

"As an important support for inland Shaanxi and Xi'an to speed up their development and opening-up, our park is actively promoting Shaanxi and Xi'an integrating into the development of the Belt and Road Initiative by expediting logistics channels, building a port platform and promoting shipping-rail transportation," Han said.

Construction of the park began in 2008 and it received support from the central government in 2010.

In 2011, the State Council officially approved the establishment of the Xi'an Comprehensive Bonded Zone in the park.

Located in an eastern suburb of Xi'an, the park is developing with a planned construction area of 44.6 square kilometers. It is divided into eight sections, for container operations, a comprehensive bonded area, domestic trade, comprehensive services, residential communities, logistics, industries and urban and rural overall development.

Han said the park is embracing strategic opportunities after the president proposed the Belt and Road Initiative. It is now on a development path that combines speed, quality and efficiency, he said.

Local authorities are making great efforts to advance the construction of an international inland port, to further strengthen customs cooperation with coastal areas and border ports and to develop pilot e-commerce services for cross-border trade.

In 2014, 12.08 billion yuan ($1.9 billion) was spent on fixed assets in the park, an increase of 41.6 percent from a year earlier.

The park also used $50.5 million in foreign investments last year, an increase of 45.6 percent from 2013, and attracted 4.497 billion yuan in domestic investment, up 35.8 percent. Its foreign trade increased 22.45 percent to $600 million, Han said.

From January to August, 11.26 billion yuan was spent on fixed assets in the park, increasing 24.5 percent year-on-year, and $37.15 million in foreign investment was drawn to the park, up 9.3 percent.

An international freight train named Chang'an that links the park with countries in Central Asia has made 111 journeys since 2013, shipping 154,000 metric tons of goods, including industrial raw materials and mechanical equipment to overseas destinations.

"During the period of January to August, the train made 63 trips, a surge of 215 percent compared with the same period last year," Han said.

The freight train started its return journey in September this year from Almaty, Kazakhstan, bringing back Kazakhstan-made goods to further promote trade and transportation between China and countries in Central Asia.

A railway container center in the park handles 98,000 standard containers, including more than 200,000 vehicles each year, and further enhances the park's role as a regional logistics distribution center and an international transit hub, the official said.

In 2014, Xi'an became the first inland city in China to be designated an "originating port/destination port".

On Dec 18, 2014, 18,000 boxes of milk from Australia were transported from Melbourne Port directly to Xi'an Port, in the first international shipment after Xi'an Port was granted the status of an "originating port/destination port".

With the approval of the central government, Xi'an Port has been given the green light to deal with foreign cargo. It is a designated port for imported meat and grain as well as a supervision center for multi transportation, which enables the city to provide a range of services related to foreign trade, including quarantine and inspection.

In March 2014, the Xi'an Comprehensive Bonded Zone in the park was approved by the General Administration of Customs to conduct a pilot e-commerce service for cross-border trade, and the cross-border e-commerce platform handled its first order two months later.

"The platform has dealt with more than 10,000 orders since it went into full operation on Oct 28, 2014. It has facilitated direct purchases from overseas since Feb 12, 2015, and the business is operating properly," Han said.

Early this year, the platform was approved to be the electronic commerce demonstration base in Shaanxi province, which attracted a number of e-commerce enterprises including Alibaba, Jingdong and Gome to join the platform.

Han said he and his colleagues have confidence in maintaining the rapid growth of the park and will continue to operate a series of service platforms, including the Xi'an Port, the Chang'an freight train and cross-border electronics suppliers, in order to contribute to Xi'an and Shaanxi's integration into the the Belt and Road Initiative.

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 Xi'an zone aims to boost Belt and Road plan

Xi'an, the capital of Shaanxi province, is China's first inland city to have a "originating port/destination port", which facilitates sea-land international freight transport and increases foreign trade. Provided To China Daily

 Xi'an zone aims to boost Belt and Road plan, a cross-border e-commerce platform headquartered in the Xi'an International Trade and Logistics Park, is offering support for foreign trade. Provided To China Daily

(China Daily 09/22/2015 page15)

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