China / News

Opening up to the rest of the world

By Zhuan Ti (China Daily) Updated: 2016-11-04 15:42

Backed by the central government’s strategy to deepen the opening-up of western China, Chengdu, a hub city in the region, is expanding its ties with the outside world.

Switzerland is scheduled to open a consulate general in the city in November to promote business between the two countries and further boost Sino- Swiss bilateral relations.

It is the 16th foreign consulate approved to open in Chengdu. The city has the largest number of foreign consulates in western China.

An official opening ceremony for the consulate general has been scheduled for early 2017.

This will be Switzerland’s fifth official representation in China, in addition to the embassy in Beijing and the consulates general in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong.

The consulate general will serve the western China region, covering the provinces of Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan and Chongqing Municipality.

“Opening the consulate general in Chengdu recognizes the exciting prospects this city and region hold for Sino-Swiss relations,” said Swiss Ambassador to China Jean-Jacques de Dardel.

The new consulate general will focus on the economy, trade, innovation and tourism. It will also contribute to the cultural exchanges between China and Switzerland, according to Frank Eggmann, the new consul general.

Chengdu is also strengthening its connection with the world with more international fl ights.

During the 22nd World Route Development Forum, one of the biggest annual events for the global civil aviation sector held in Chengdu in September, the Chengdu city government, together with Sichuan Province Airport Group, signed agreements with six airlines to open nine nonstop air routes departing from Chengdu.

The Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport has opened nearly 100 international routes, connecting it to more than 70 international cities including San Francisco, Paris, Frankfurt, Melbourne and Doha.

Chengdu began construction of its new Chengdu Tianfu International Airport in May. The long-term target for the airport is to have six runways, with an annual capacity of 90 million passengers and 2 million metric tons of cargo.

The city is also operating the Chengdu Europe Express Rail, the fastest and most frequently used express rail service linking China and Europe. Launched in April 2013, the express rail has expanded to Kutno, Poland, and Nuremberg, Germany.

According to the latest plans for the Chengdu-Europe Plus Strategy, Chengdu will operate three major cargo rail routes to Europe, heading to Lodz in Poland, Moscow in Russia and Istanbul in Turkey.

By the end of last year, Chengdu had direct economic and trade relations with 223 major cities worldwide, including 20 that have opened trade and tourism offi ces in the city. It is also home to 278 Fortune Global 500 companies, the largest number in central and western China.

Chengdu has been designated by the central government to be a national central city, garnering more attention for

Opening up to the rest of the world

A Chengdu Europe Express Rail train arrives back at Chengdu on Sept 6 last year, completing the return trip for the fi rst time. PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY

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