Shaanxi Economy Impelled by the "Belt and Road" Initiative

2017-07-11 09:00:09 , Source : The Government Website of Shaanxi Province

Xi'an Port: Port of Destination and Port of Departure for international trade

Yongning Gate in Xi'an

At 8 am on July 9, the departure of CRH D2651 from Xi'an to Lanzhou inaugurated the official operation of Baoji-Lanzhou high speed rail with total length of 401 km. The high speed rail will take you to Lanzhou to enjoy Lanzhou Noodles in the evening after tasting Pita Bread Soaked in Lamp Soup in Xi’an at noon. The route from Xi'an, the starting point of the ancient Silk Road to the "Camel Bell Ancient Road" in Urumqi, Xinjiang has been updated to the modern "Silk Road High Speed Rails".

During the session of "2017 Silk Road Expo" held in Xi'an in June, Shaanxi delegation concluded multiple foreign investment projects with total investment of USD 5.718 billion and domestic projects of RMB 1361.236 billion. Multiple favorable policies adopted in China (Shaanxi) Pilot Free Trade Zone and "Big Xi'an" construction project have attracted businessmen from both home and abroad. The domestic joint project investment amount of exceeding RMB thousands of billion yuan has reached a record high.

In the recent 3 years, the construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt has fully released the potential of Shaanxi economy and supported the deepened reform, transformation and upgrading, opening-up and innovation, which ushered in a new era of economic development in Shaanxi.

A hub integrated with land and air transportation

In April, the 2017 Action Plan for Belt and Road Construction proposed the building of integrated transport network in Shaanxi and the accelerated construction of three-dimensional traffic network and the double-cross high speed rail network. The operation of Baoji-Lanzhou high speed rail has shortened the one-way trip from the former 8 hours to the present 3 hours. At present, the high speed rails in northwest China have been connected to the national high speed rail network. Till now a high speed rail which runs from Xuzhou in eastern China to Urumqi in western China has been completely linked up.

Statistics showed that the opening of "Highway along the Yellow River" with length of 828 km in August will connect 1220 villages in 72 townships of 12 counties in 4 cities, benefiting more than 2 million people along the highway. Till then, the Shaanxi highway new mileage will enjoy an increase of 620 km.

At present, there are 46 international passenger air lines operated in Shaanxi. The Shaanxi-based airline-Air Chang'an has successfully connected the transport networks of railway, high speed rail, highway and air transportation.

Since the opening of international cargo train "Chang'an" in 2013, it has been in normal operation with train trips exceeding 10000, serving as an important international railway trade channel for the Silk Road Economic Belt construction as well the opening-up of Shaanxi Province. Until May 2017, the accumulated cargo amount has reached 513 thousand ton with 206 kinds of commodities covering industrial raw materials, machinery and equipment, industrial spare parts, building materials, food and light industrial products.

China (Shaanxi) Pilot Free Trade Zone facilitates international business logistics

At the 13th Shaanxi Provincial Party Congress, focus has been attached to building a trade center transportation hub along the Belt and Road relied on central geological advantages.

The China (Shaanxi) Pilot Free Trade Zone inaugurated in April 2017 will facilitate West Region Development of China and greatly improve the opening-up of Shaanxi. The zone will deepen investment reform and promote transformation and expansion of foreign trade and cooperation with countries along the Belt and Road. Meanwhile, the zone will incorporate functions of international inland hub port, logistics distribution center and platform for international exchange and cooperation.

As the geometric center of China and a natural transportation hub, Shaanxi is endeavoring to improve facilities of international inland port, international airport and logistics distribution center and strengthen cooperation with coastal and border ports to smooth clearance procedures. Person in charge at Xi’an Customs said that clearance facilitation policies such as "Silk Road Single-window System of Clearance" and "National Single-window System of Clearance" have been adopted in Shaanxi to facilitate both "global buying and selling".

With the starting using of country and international code, "Xi'an Port" has become the "destination port" and "departure port" in international trade and transportation. Fresh achievements also include: two-way and normal operation of cargo trains to Europe and Central Asia; approval for designated port for meat and grain import; the operation of Shaanxi E-port Comprehensive Service Platform and 72-hour visa-free transit. The reform of regional Single-window System of Clearance has reduced the average clearance time at Xi’an Port by 50% and logistics cost by 20-30%.

Multiple favorable policies at the free trade zone have attracted large-scale logistics enterprises to establish headquarters in Shaanxi and carry on businesses in northwest region and Central Asian countries along the Silk Road. NHA Group, JD Group, ZTO Logistics and YTO Logistics have established bases in Shaanxi to build a "Chinese Memphis".

To meet future demand for development, Shaanxi Railway Administration planned to build the largest modern comprehensive logistics center along the Silk Road Economic Belt based on the newly-built railway station

In addition, achievements have been made in building three-dimensional Silk Road integrated with land, air transportation and information highway, the online Silk Road, the opening of Xi'an national Internet backbone straight point and e-commerce services for cross-border trade. 2016 Shaanxi e-commerce development statistics showed that the transaction amount was RMB 272.5 billion, among which the online retail sales was RMB 33.9 billion. On November 11, 2016, the accumulated purchase amount of major e-commerce platforms in Shaanxi exceeded RMB 3.1 billion, an increase of 47.6% compared with that of the same day in 2015.

Shaanxi to be the top cultural tourist destination along the Silk Road

The maiden trip of "Chang'an" Silk Road Tour Train with 600 tourists on board starting from Xi’an signified that the historical and cultural attractions along the Silk Road are attracting the world's attention: Silk Roads: the Routes Network of Chang’an-Tianshan Corridor, one of the newly listed world cultural heritage sites; and 5 world cultural heritage sites in Xi'an, namely the Site of Weiyang Palace Chang'an City of Western Han Dynasty, Daming Palace Ruins of Tang Dynasty, the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, the Small Wild Goose Pagoda and Xingjiao Temple Pagoda.

The road connectivity has reinforced people-to-people connectivity. Special emphases have been placed on training and educational cooperation in the 2017 Action Plan for Belt and Road Construction. In the recent 3 years, universities in Xi'an have become the major choices for foreign students. At present, the number of overseas students and trainees from Central Asian countries reached more than 1200.

The Universities Alliance of the New Silk Road (UANSR) initiated and established by Xi'an Jiaotong University was warmly welcomed by universities along the Silk Road and 124 universities from 30 countries and regions of 5 continents joined the alliance. The UANSR has promoted varied cooperation among universities in terms of intercollegiate communication, personnel training, scientific research cooperation and think tank setting-up.

In addition to cultural exchanges, Shaanxi has brought the leading role of scientific and technological innovation into fully play in building a sci-tech education center to facilitate cooperation education of enterprise, university and scientific research organization, personnel training, and transformation of sci-tech achievements. Efforts will be made in establishing bilateral and multilateral international cooperation mechanism and deepening international cooperation in training and education to accelerate the construction of Western China Science & Technology Innovation Harbor, Silk Road Economic Belt Education and Culture Exchange Center and Human Resources Service Industrial Park. The function of UANSR will be brought into full play for innovative ways of personnel training to facilitate the cooperation program of Shanghai Cooperation Organization University in Shaanxi.

Large Shaanxi enterprises "Go Global"

During the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020), 30 international cooperative industrial parks will be built to serve countries along the Belt and Road. Meanwhile, the multi-field cooperation between large Shaanxi enterprises and countries along the route will be deepened.

In recent years, the overseas development achieved by Shaanxi has boomed. The international capacity cooperative mechanism jointly established with National Development and Reform Commission promoted the overseas investment programs such as the 3 Refining & Chemical Industrial Parks launched in Kyrgyzstan by Shaanxi Coal and Chemical Industry Group, 5 overseas investment projects such as 2-million-ton alumina project by CNMC in Indonesia, and 4 foreign contracted projects such as Pakistan highway project by China Railway 20 Bureau; the mechanism also enhanced the internationalization strategy of large state-owned enterprises including Shaanxi Coal and Chemical Industry Group, Shanxi Automobile Group Co., Ltd and Shaanxi Fast Gear Co., Ltd. With more than 300 foreign investment and cooperation enterprises and business scope covering 80 countries and regions in more than 30 industries and fields, the accumulated overseas investment from Shaanxi exceeded USD 3 billion.

The import and export volume between Shaanxi and countries along the Belt and Road in 2016 reached RMB 23.1 billion, accounting for 12% of the total. The construction of international cooperative parks has been energetically pushed on: the international cooperative parks with Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Korea are under construction; the construction projects of Xi'an Semiconductor Industrial Cooperative Industrial Park and Nebraska (Yangling) Agricultural Science and Technology Park have been accelerated.

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