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Guangxi strives to strengthen links with neighboring areas

By Wang Qingyun in Beijing and Shi Ruipeng in Nanning | China Daily | Updated: 2024-06-13 07:23
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The main body of a canal connecting waterways in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region with the Beibu Gulf is expected to be completed at the end of 2026, a senior government official said on Wednesday.

Xu Yongke, vice-chairman of the regional government, said at a news conference in Beijing that the construction of the Pinglu Canal is going smoothly. Construction began in August 2022.

With a total length of more than 130 kilometers, the canal is expected to connect Hengzhou in Guangxi, with the Beibu Gulf to the south, allowing goods to travel a shorter distance before reaching the sea.

If freight goes from southwestern China to the sea via the canal, it will travel 560 kilometers less than by using current waterways, Xu said.

The canal is part of the regional government's efforts to attract and facilitate domestic as well as international business and trade.

Lan Tianli, chairman of the regional government, said the autonomous region, which is located near member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, will work to build an efficient transportation network and a cross-border and cross-regional industrial and supply chain.

It will also fully align itself with the trade rules of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and keep improving its business environment, Lan said.

He also said that Guangxi is speeding up the construction of an "intelligent port" on its border with Vietnam, which is expected to allow unmanned and intelligent clearance of goods 24 hours a day.

Domestically, Guangxi is looking to seize more development opportunities by better integrating with the neighboring Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

The autonomous region is working vigorously to turn itself into "an important strategic hinterland" for the Greater Bay Area, Lan said.

"We should fully join in the innovative, industrial, supply, capital and talent chains of the Greater Bay Area," he added.

Bai Songtao, head of the region's Development and Reform Commission, said the potential is huge for cooperation between Guangxi and the Greater Bay Area.

According to Bai, nearly half of Guangxi's population speaks Cantonese, and more than 6 million people from Guangxi work in Guangdong province.

The Greater Bay Area boasts a significant competitive edge in technological innovation, Bai said, adding that Guangxi will deepen science and technology exchanges and cooperation with it.

Guangxi has become an important supplier of agricultural products, electric power and other products for the Greater Bay Area, according to Bai.

About 40 percent of the fresh vegetables consumed by Hong Kong and Macao residents are produced in Guangxi, Bai added.

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