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Free trade zone opening up economy of region

By LI YOU | China Daily | Updated: 2020-11-26 09:24
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Workers lift containers at the Nanning International Railway Port. LU BOAN / XINHUA  

The Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region is vowing to seize opportunities brought by the newly established China (Guangxi) Pilot Free Trade Zone and expand economic and trade cooperation with neighboring countries.

Established on Aug 30, 2019, the Guangxi FTZ made great progress in utilizing foreign capital. This was demonstrated by the $170 million in foreign investments that were attracted by just the following month.

From January to August, foreign trade volume of the zone was 103.4 billion yuan ($15.7 billion), accounting for 34.5 percent of the total of Guangxi.

Guangxi FTZ has also made achievements in terms of its administrative working mechanism; reform and innovation in policy-making; legal system optimization; as well as its investigation and evaluation methods.

To date, more than 92.5 percent of the 120 pilot tasks deployed by the country have been tested in the zone, with 66 percent of them approved effective through real practice.

As of Nov 10, Guangxi FTZ has seen the establishment of a total of 17,970 new enterprises, including 218 foreign-funded enterprises. It also promoted institutional innovation around logistics agglomeration brought by its advantageous location.

Through streamlined administrative procedures, promoting the standardization of logistics at its ports and adopting big data tools, it has reduced the processing time and costs of transportation.

From January to September, the cargo throughput and container throughput of Beibu Gulf Port in Qinzhou reached 220 million metric tons and 3.51 million 20-foot equivalent units; a year-on-year rise of 19.6 percent and 34.9 percent respectively.

Guangxi also pledged to help its rural people out of poverty by establishing trademarks and providing certification of local agricultural products.

Through a working plan to enhance the economic partnership between the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong, the local government set up a pilot zone in Nanning, providing testing and certification services for local agricultural and food products.

A number of Guangxi's agricultural product enterprises obtained the Hong Kong "zheng "seal, which stands for a high-quality product. The certification helps them win recognition from Hong Kong customers and international markets and establish trademarks.

In 2019 alone, a total of 99 agricultural products made from 89 Guangxi enterprises were certified by Hong Kong's "zheng" seal, including 30 kinds of tea products; 18 kinds of fruit and vegetable; eight kinds of meat, eggs and milk; and 37 kinds of processed agricultural products.

This year, another 34 kinds of products from 33 enterprises in Guangxi were certified by Hong Kong's "zheng" seal.

According to Bi Jundong, deputy director of the market supervision bureau of the region, Guangxi's market regulatory authority is joining hands with Hong Kong's standards and testing center to mutually recognize the test results of agricultural products and food.

The service has opened up a convenient channel for Guangxi enterprises to enter Hong Kong and international markets, said Bi.

An orange brand owner in Guangxi said that thanks to the certification, his oranges have achieved the highest average price in China's fertile orange market at 40 yuan per kilogram.

At the same time, the brand has helped 110 local poor households out of poverty and built 55 houses for poor families.

The market supervision departments at all levels in Guangxi have guided poverty-stricken areas to establish seven characteristic industry standardization demonstration zones and issued 24 new local standards.

Through years of work, they managed to create 92 geographical indication-protected products.

These include the Baise mango, Liuzhou luosifen (a Chinese rice noodle dish) and 67 geographical indication trademarks.

The products' annual industrial output value exceeds 70 billion yuan, benefiting 1.3 million households and 7 million people. It also helped 1.1 million people out of poverty.

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