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Remarkable Achievements in Building Chongqing As An Exemplary Inland City for Opening-up

By JIEYU WANG|Oct 25,2019

From January to August, in 2019, Chongqing realized a total foreign trade value of RMB 360.88 billion. This is an increase of 13.9%. The service trade is USD 16.35 billion, an uptick of 20.9%. The foreign investment in actual use is USD 5.62 billion, an increase of 8%, and the foreign direct investment totaled USD 1.64 billion, a growth of 0.5%.

The pattern of connected opening-up channels has taken shape

From January to August in 2019, there were 1,057 China-Europe freight trains, with a total number of over 4,000.

Chongqing is striving to build itself into a national logistics hub in inland China based on its favorable regional advantages, the development toward the four directions, and the waterway, railway, highway, and air transport. To the east, it will build on the Yangtze River Golden Waterway, optimize the fast regular ships with appointed loading and discharging ports, transport routes, shipping schedule, transit time, and whole-journey freight rates. Three fast regular ships will take the priority to pass the gate every day; there are 70 “YUYONG” (Chongqing-Ningbo) trains too. To the west, from January to August in 2019, there were 1,057 China-Europe freight trains, with a total number of over 4,000. To the south, the development of the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor (ILSTC) in Western China is speeding up. The rail-sea multimodal transport, regular highway lorry, and international railway transport dispatched 612, 626, and 42 trains respectively from January to August in 2019. To the north, the “YUMANE” (Chongqing-Manzhouli-Russia) trains have been developing rapidly, dispatching 332 trains during this period. As for the air transport, Chongqing is building itself into an international aviation hub based on Jiangbei International Airport, and there are 88 international and national air routes, realizing a passenger throughput of 29.97 million.

The significant leading role of the opening-up platform

Chongqing Liangjiang New Area Digital Economy Industrial Park.

Liangjiang New Area has completed in building the comprehensive pilot of the new system for an open economy, and it has been approved as a pilot zone of innovative development of service trade. Its functions of the comprehensive hub, open port, modern finance, bonded logistics, and international conference & exhibition have appeared gradually. The construction of China (Chongqing) Pilot Free Trade Zone (CFTZ) has been pushed forward thoroughly, and Chongqing is exploring land trade rules and promoting innovation pilots of logistics finance. In the overall plan with 151 pilot projects, the implementation rate reached 97%; 95% of the 141 independent innovation measures have also been realized, with over 200 issues of institutional innovation achievements. From January to August, the number of newly-registered enterprises in CFTZ exceeded 9,257, with a total capital of RMB 100.74 billion. China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity (CCI) has been carried out at high standard, and their cooperation in such four key fields as financial services, aviation industry, transportation and logistics, information and communication are gradually deepening. Chongqing has also entered the Strategic Cooperation Agreement on Serving the Development of Enterprises in Western China with Singapore Exchange Limited.

Improving operation efficiency of open ports

Guoyuan Port Approved as One of the 1st Batch of National Logistics Hubs on September 11.

The core target is to improve customs clearance and promote trade liberalization and facilitation. First, the port system has been optimized. Approved in March of 2019 to set up the port for first-imported drugs and biological products, Chongqing now has the port system consisting of four national open ports, three former second-class ports, eight bonded port areas, and designated ports of nine special imported commodities, covering vehicles, meat, fruits, chilled aquatic products, edible marine animals, cereals, live cattle, medicine and rough diamonds. Second, the port service has been improved. Chongqing has rolled out policies for improving port service and reducing the compliance cost of containers. It promotes the “parallel operation” and “time-limited operation” on port logistics and has strengthened the guarantee of “24-7 service” for customs clearance. Besides, with integrated check and investigation, the convenience of customs clearance has been improved. Third, the supervision methods are more facilitated. The “single window” for international trade has been implemented deeply and promoted around the whole port area. Chongqing has pioneered in China to realize foreign currency payments and receipts via the “single window."

Furthermore, cooperation with Singapore has been boosted actively. The city has also started the construction of the smart port. It has been accelerating the intelligentized customs clearance of water port, airport, railway port, and highway logistics base (highway port).

The cultivation of open market entities has eyed remarkable results

Chongqing actively introduces and fosters market entities of an open economy, boosts industrial transformation and upgrading, and ensures the steady and sound development of an open economy.

The structure of foreign trade has continuously been optimized. The trade-in goods have formed a pattern of steady growth in processing trade, consolidated advantages in general trade, and accelerated the cultivation of new growth points in foreign trade. Traditional industries such as automobiles and motorcycles, electric machinery, and general machinery are gaining export advantages, and mobile phone export becomes a new growth point. The bonded aircraft leasing mode has witnessed normalization, and a total of 9 bonded leasing aircraft have been introduced. From January to August, imports played a stronger role in stimulating economic growth, contributing 40.2% to foreign trade growth, up 18.8% YoY. 

Two-way investment benefits have been improved. 

The city fully implements the foreign investment management model combining pre-establishment national treatment and negative list, as well as puts in place a “one-step” approach to the filing of business records and business registration for foreign investment. It also guides more foreign investment into the real economy and makes better use of foreign investment in manufacturing, real estate, finance, and commercial services sectors. Chongqing now sees more than 6,000 foreign investment market entities, 287 of which are listed among the Fortune Global 500. 

The exhibition economy has been upgraded. 

Under the action plan for innovation and upgrading of exhibition industry, it has seen the success of a variety of grand events, including the second Smart China Expo (SCE), the second Western China International Fair for Investment and Trade (WCIFIT), and the 14th annual meeting of the Chongqing Mayor’s International Economic Advisory Council. Among them, SCE featured over 600 signed projects, up by 57% in the number of participating enterprises, and WCIFIT saw 271 approved projects, totaling RMB 549.78 billion.

The business environment for open development has been roundly upgraded

By creating a world-class internationalized and enabling business environment based on the rule of law, the city continues to enhance its attraction to the outside world and make the business environment more supportive of open development. 

First, the market environment has been improved. 

The city deepens the reform of management systems of foreign investment and investments abroad, innovates in the facilitation of trade settlement, and supports international logistics electronic settlement. In addition, it establishes the “double support” pattern of payment institutions and certification centers. It carries out trials on the centralized operation of foreign exchange funds and the settlement and payment of income from capital projects of transnational corporations, to facilitate two-way investment. 

Second, government services become more efficient and convenient. 

Chongqing deepens the reform of administration-streamlining, power delegation-and-regulation combination, and service optimization, as well as the reform of the administrative review and approval system and the business system. It also carries out trials on integrating business certifications and licenses into one consolidated business license and separating permits from the business license. Moreover, it implements a “single window” for foreign investment and deepens ongoing and ex-post regulatory reform. In this respect, it explores the establishment of a regulatory mechanism featuring “oversight through inspections by randomly selected inspectors of randomly selected entities and the public release of inspection results.” 

Third, the legal environment has been comprehensively enhanced. 

Chongqing strengthens legislative safeguards and formulates a series of regulatory documents, including the Regulations on CFTZ. It has established legal services agencies, the CFTZ Arbitration Center, the CFTZ Commercial Conciliation Center, and five legal service groups, including the lawyer service groups of CFTZ and CCI. It intensifies efforts to protect the intellectual property rights of foreign-invested enterprises, establishes and improves a law enforcement mechanism, a conflict resolution mechanism, and a credit system to adequately protect the intellectual property rights of foreign-invested enterprises. 

Fourth, the living environment has been continuously bolstered. 

The 72-hour visa-free transit has been implemented for 53 countries. A total of 20 visa application centers have been set up in Chongqing, making travel easier for all parties. In combination with the urban upgrading action plan, the city establishes and improves international communities, international shopping centers, cultural and sports facilities, public transportation systems, and other living facilities. Furthermore, it starts to build itself into an international consumption center and deepens cultural and tourism exchanges and cooperation. At present, it is home to 2 schools for children of foreigners and four hospitals with China-foreign joint ventures. With operating mileage of rail transit exceeding 300 kilometers, it ranks first in the central and western regions and fifth in China.


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