Silk Road port in Xinjiang to become trade hub
Updated: 2011-08-10 18:33
By Uking Sun (chinadaily.com.cn)
ILI, Xinjiang – Once an important passage of the Silk Road trade routes echoing camel bells, Horgos Port in Ili, Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous regions has since become a thriving trade hub, and a trade center between China and Kazakhstan is to begin trial operations this September.
The China-Kazakhstan Horgos International Border Cooperation Center, an extension of the original Horgos Port, covers 3.43 square km in China and 1.85 sq km in Kazakhstan. China has finished all infrastructure construction on its part, Kazakstan finished 90 percent, and both sides have agreed to put the center on a closed trial operation in September, said Liu Jianlin, the deputy director of Horgos Port Management Committee.
Liu said the total volume of import and export through the port in the first half of year is 4.82 million tons, almost three times as much as the same period last year.
Over 310,000 passengers have passed the custom in the first half of the year. Everyday, there are about 100 to 300 vehicles carrying products - mainly textiles, fruits, daily necessities, mechanical equipment and home appliances - to Kazakstan through the port.
The port will be included in the transnational center after completion. People in the Chinese section of the center can purchase duty-free products worth of 8,000 yuan at most per day, higher than the limit of 5,000 yuan in south China’s Hainan Island, a tropical tourist destination.
The central government has agreed on principle to increase the limit from 8,000 yuan to 30,000 yuan, said Liu. However, the special zone is still waiting for the formalized favorable trade policies, such as in taxation and human resources from higher authorities.
Lin also said the six projects under construction on the Chinese section involve an investment of 14.3 billion yuan.
Initiated by leader of China and Kazakhstan, the center is designed for business negotiations, commodity displays and sales, storage, transportation, financial services and holding international trade fairs.
Better customs service
Zhang Lan, the chief of staff of border checkpoint forces, said measures are being implemented to improve the services and ensure speedy checks at Horgos Port.
The parking is now divided into three parts for exported vehicles, transportation trucks, and cross-border commuter buses so they can be checked efficiently.
“We [are] required to finish customs checks in 45 seconds on principle.”
Good days coming
“The good days are coming,” said a fruits vendor driving an electrical tricycle at a shopping center in Horgos Port.
The gray-haired woman, surnamed Su, migrated to Horgos in 1997 from central China’s Henan province and since then, has contracted 40 mu of land to grow apples, peaches and other fruits.
Pointing at the grand shopping center, she said great changes happen every day and now she starts to sell fruits to people from Kazakhstan through the rapidly expanding Horgos Port.