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Yiwu-Madrid train offers growth opportunities to Spanish SMEs: experts

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-03-13 14:36
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A freight train, which travels between Yiwu, Zhejiang province, and Madrid, in Spain, is parked in Yiwu. [Photo/China Daily by Zhu Xingxin]

MADRID - The railway line between the Chinese city of Yiwu and the Spanish capital of Madrid gives a chance for Spanish small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) to sell their products in China, a spokesperson for the Spanish Secretary of State for Commerce told Xinhua.

"The Yiwu-Madrid train represents an opportunity for Spanish SMEs to introduce their products into the Chinese market and in this sense Spanish business people view it positively," communications officer Esther Barranco said.

Boosting exports

The 13,000 km rail connection between Yiwu, in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang, and the Spanish capital, began operations in 2014.

Barranco said that since its opening, the line has become a "key option for the internationalization of companies, the opening of new markets and strengthening exports to Asia and especially China."

Jordi Quero, an expert with the Barcelona Center for International Affairs), said: "The Spanish government sees this line as material evidence for the improvement in bilateral relations between Spain and China. For quite a while now, Spain has been developing a foreign policy which has been characterized by the promotion of economic interests abroad and focused on opening new markets."

Improving service

Two trains a week currently leave Yiwu for Madrid, while one leaves Madrid for Yiwu which take the convoys through eight countries (China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, France and Spain). This involves changes of railway gauge and different working conditions and regulations in every country.

Despite these obvious difficulties, Barranco said the service is being used more and more, while measures are being taken to resolve problems and improve train services.

"Slowly but surely the challenges to convert the line into an agile, efficient and sustainable alternative in comparison to air or sea transport are being resolved," she added.

Winery Bodegas Vivanco, from the famous Rioja wine region, has been using the line ever since it opened.

"We have had a good experience because our produce has always arrived in good condition," the company's head of merchandizing Javier Fernandez de Bobadilla said. "China is vital for us and we see the country as an important key towards the growth of our winery and to make our wine more popular," he added.

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