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Land-sea trade corridor connects western China with world

Xinhua | Updated: 2022-07-25 14:46
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Customs officers inspect a China-Laos cargo train before its departure in Chongqing, May 21, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

CHONGQING -- The New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, an important trade and logistics passage, transported 216,000 TEUs of goods in the first half of 2022, up 30.3 percent year-on-year.

The corridor, jointly built by provincial-level regions in western China and ASEAN members, has expanded its reach to 319 ports in 107 countries and regions.

The data was released at the opening ceremony of the 4th Western China International Fair for Investment and Trade (WCIFIT) and a forum on international cooperation of the corridor on Friday.

Since the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor opened in 2017, with Chongqing as its operations center and other western provinces as key nodes, goods transported via the corridor can land overseas more quickly via various transport modes such as railways, highways and water routes.

China's inland western region has become a new growth point in foreign trade through the corridor. Enterprises in western China are also taking this opportunity to integrate into the global industrial structure more deeply.

Zhang Xingyan, general manager of the Import & Export Company of Chongqing Sokon Industrial Group Co Ltd, said that the company has invested $150 million in the construction of an automobile manufacturing base in Indonesia.

"The corridor shortens the transport time from Chongqing to Jakarta from more than 30 days to under 20 days, which improves transportation efficiency and reduces operating costs," Zhang said.

The corridor connects important transport links, including the China-Europe Railway Express services and the Yangtze River golden waterway, as well as economic corridors and circles in areas such as the Indo-China Peninsula and the Pacific.

It is of strategic significance to promoting the joint development of the Belt and Road and the Yangtze Economic Belt, bolstering opening-up in western China and deepening the construction of a China-ASEAN community with a shared future, said Liao Jiasheng, general manager of the China Logistics Group.

While enabling China's western region to go global, the corridor will also create new development opportunities for countries and regions along the routes.

The Laos-China import and export commodity distribution center was launched in Chongqing on July 5. China and Laos will build a centralized purchasing and distribution system, carry out industrial chain cooperation, and expand bilateral trade in sectors including energy, mineral resources and agriculture -- all based on the corridor.

"It used to take at least 20 days for rice and other agricultural products from Laos to be transported to Chongqing and Sichuan in southwestern China," said Wu Yang, manager of the Minsheng International Freight Co Ltd.

The whole trip now takes just four days via the China-Laos railway, under the initiative of the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, Wu said.

China is also exploring more potential cooperation opportunities with its trade partners along the corridor. It is building an integrated banana supply chain, relying on the corridor together with Cambodia, and working with Malaysia on a supply chain resource center along the corridor.

Connectivity is at the heart of supply chain resilience, Josephine Teo, Singapore's minister for communications and information and second minister for home affairs, said via video link at the forum. She noted that the corridor connects Southeast Asia, with its young and dynamic economies, to western China, the fastest growing region in the country.

Amid global uncertainties, the corridor remains steadfast in its mission of connecting like-minded partners, leveraging comparative strengths, and ensuring win-win outcomes, Teo said.

"I look forward to the continued expansion of the network of the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, and encourage more stakeholders to come on board the trade corridor," Teo said.

The 4th WCIFIT will be held from Thursday to Sunday in Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality. It serves as an important platform to promote regional cooperation and foreign economic and trade exchanges in China.

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