Many deals expected from China-Northeast Asia expo
By An Baijie
( China Daily )
Region plans to strengthen cooperation with neighboring countries to realize new development opportunities and promote the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative, An Baijie reports.
The authorities in Northeast China are planning to enhance business cooperation with neighboring countries through establishing a range of platforms including expos, forums and high-level meetings, according to senior officials.
Chen Weigen, deputy director of the Jilin Provincial People's Congress, said a large number of commercial deals are expected to be reached during the 10th China-Northeast Asia Expo, which is scheduled to be held from Sept 1 through 6 in Changchun, the capital of Jilin province.
In addition to Asian countries including Japan, the Republic of Korea and Mongolia, the expo is also open to other countries, said Chen, who is also director of the expo's executive committee.
Through establishing a platform for global purchasing, the expo will focus on international trade and expanding exports and imports, he said.
During the event, senior government leaders from both China and Northeast Asian countries will make keynote speeches and hold discussions, he added.
Chen made the remarks at a news conference held on Aug 14, during which officials from both local and central government departments briefed the audience on preparation for the expo.
According to Chen, the expo is expected to enhance connections between China and its Northeast Asian neighbors, to promote the implementation of the country's Belt and Road Initiative.
The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road are a land-based route from China via Central Asia and Russia to Europe, and a strategic path through the Strait of Malacca to India, the Middle East and East Africa. The two initiatives began to take shape in 2014 with a focus on infrastructure.
The Jilin provincial government is trying to establish opening-up zones in its cities of Changchun, Jilin and Tumen, where a set of measures have been taken to implement the Belt and Road Initiative, Chen said.
Entrepreneurs from neighboring countries as well as the world's top 500 companies are planning to attend the expo, and they are expected to form partnerships in industries including manufacturing, service, modern agriculture and infrastructure.
The executive committee has also invited officials from local government departments in China, Japan and the ROK to boost trade and communications between the countries.
During the expo, the executive committee will also hold a forum on enhancing exchanges between young entrepreneurs of Northeast Asian countries, and another forum featuring think tanks of from those countries, Chen said.
Zhou Jianping, director of the Department of Revitalizing Northeast China at the National Development and Reform Commission, said at the news conference that the expo is expected to bring more development opportunities for the region, where economic growth has continued to lag behind other domestic regions in recent years.
Of the 31 provinces, municipalities and regions on the Chinese mainland, the three provinces in Northeast China - Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning - were among the four with the weakest economic expansion in the first half of 2015. Growth of only 2.6 percent, compared with the national average of 7 percent, put Liaoning in last place.
During his trip to the region in mid-July, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for an innovation-backed economic growth model, encouraging a society-wide passion for innovation in order to revive the region known as the "rustbelt".
Both Xi and Premier Li Keqiang have attached great importance to the development of Northeast China during their inspection tours to the region, and the expo aims to implement that guidance from the top leadership, Zhou said.
Northeast China has unique geographic advantages, with long borders and coasts, providing the region ample potential for international trade and cooperation, he said.
Song Yaoming, a counselor with the Asian Affairs Department of China's Ministry of Commerce, said at the news conference that China and other Northeast Asian countries have maintained close economic and trade relationships in recent years.
Last year, the trade volume between them reached $712 billion, accounting for 17 percent of China's foreign trade, Song said.
On June 1, China and the Republic of Korea signed a free trade agreement. The ROK will eliminate tariffs on 92 percent of all exports from China within 20 years, while China will abolish tariffs on 91 percent of all ROK goods.
The China-ROK free trade agreement will become an engine to boost the development of Northeast Asian countries, Song said.
Ling Ji, director of the Department of Eurasian Affairs with the Ministry of Commerce, said China's Belt and Road Initiative will be aligned with the Eurasian Economic Union, which is led by Russia.
The alignment work will focus on the relevant policies and rules for such sectors as infrastructure construction, energy deals, transportation, and agriculture, he said.
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The China-Northeast Asia Expo has become an efficient platform for expanding foreign trade. PROVIDED TO China Daily
Delegates from around the globe exchange ideas and learn about the latest economic policies and industry trends at previous China-Northeast Asia Expos. Photos Provided to China Daily
(China Daily 08/27/2015 page6)