How will Chongqing play a leading role in promoting the joint construction of the Belt and Road? During the Chongqing Two Sessions, Zhang Zhikui, Director of Chongqing Municipal Commission of Commerce, shared his views at a press conference on January 13, 2020.
In April 2019, General Secretary Xi Jinping proposed during his visit to Chongqing that the city should try hard to give full play to the “three roles”. The requirement of “leading the co-construction of the Belt and Road” highlights the strategic position of Chongqing in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), points out the direction and provides the path for the city to fully integrate into the construction of the Belt and Road and accelerate the construction of an exemplary inland city of opening-up.
The CPC Chongqing Municipal Committee and Chongqing Municipal People’s Government set up a leading group, with Chen Min’er, Secretary of CPC Chongqing Municipal Committee and Mayor Tang Liangzhi as the leaders. The group aims to help Chongqing actively integrate into the construction of the Belt and Road, accelerate the construction of an exemplary inland city of opening-up, and make contributions to the acceleration in the formation of an opening-up pattern with links running eastward and westward, across land and oversea. Specifically, Chongqing will, based on its advantages of the unique location, ecology, industries, and institutions, work hard for opening-up channels, opening-up platforms, open economy, opening-up environment and exchanges, and cooperation, thus keeping deepening and solidifying the co-construction of the Belt and Road.
Chongqing is slated to implement General Secretary Xi Jinping’s instruction to “speed up the construction of corridors to foreign countries and the construction of support for inland international logistics hubs”. The city has integrated the multimodal transport of railway, road, water, and air toward its four main directions, focused on the construction of large corridors, great hubs, and big ports, promoted its connectivity with the Belt and Road on land, at sea, in the air and online, and accelerated the building of a new three-dimensional network pattern.
Facing the “Silk Road Economic Belt”, Chongqing has taken the lead in opening China Railway Express. Besides, the continuous function expansion of China Railway Express has created a series of replicable and propagable experience for deepening Chongqing’s practical cooperation with countries and regions along the BRI. China Railway Express (Chongqing) has dispatched 4,500 trains in total.
Facing the “21st Century Maritime Silk Road”, Chongqing has given full play to the role of the Golden Waterway of the Yangtze River and opened up the southward New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor (ILSTC). At present, the construction of ILSTC has become a national strategy, with the routes extending to 213 ports in 88 countries. Chongqing is establishing the logistics and operation organization center of ILSTC to improve the operation mechanism. In addition, Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport has opened 95 international and regional routes and the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Dedicated Channel on International Internet Data was opened. Meanwhile, Chongqing continuously intensifies the functions of hubs and builds international logistics distribution centers and international multimodal centers in inland China, which effectively connect the “Belt” and the “Road”, as well as the BRI and the Yangtze River Economic Belt.
Chongqing is going to give full play to the core carrier role of platforms in the city’s high-level opening-up and high-quality development.
First, the platform system has become sounder. The opening-up platform system of “strategic platform + park platform + functional platform + activity platform” has formed and the coordinated development capacity of “one area and two clusters” has been enhanced.
Second, key platforms are running well. China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity has gradually emerged as a demonstrative project and a new business card of the “Belt and Road” international cooperation. China (Chongqing) Pilot Free Trade Zone (CFTZ) continues to “explore innovative and differentiated reforms” and accelerate the integrated development of modern services and advanced manufacturing.
Third, the leading role is more prominent. Opening-up platforms have absorbed 80% of the city’s foreign direct investment and become an important window for the co-construction of the “Belt and Road”.
The high-quality economic development of the city has been consolidated and new growth drivers have been fostered. For one thing, the establishment of a modern industrial system has been accelerated. By highlighting the big data intelligence, the capacity of the digital economy to drive industrial upgrading has been continuously strengthened. In 2019, the added value of strategic emerging industries and high-tech manufacturing industries grew by 11.5% and 11.8% respectively, contributing around 30.7% and 43.5% to industrial growth respectively. An inland international financial center facing Southeast Asia and the BRI is under construction. The service sector has contributed 51% to economic growth.
For another, the city’s open economy has achieved high-quality development. In 2019, Chongqing’s foreign trade import and export increased by about 11%, with foreign investment in actual use keeping more than USD 10 billion.
Moreover, the economic and trade cooperation with countries along the BRI has been expanding. In 2019, Chongqing’s import and export with countries along the BRI increased by more than 30%, with ASEAN as its largest foreign trade market. The actual use of foreign capital along the BRI accounted for more than 50% of the city’s total.
Chongqing will continuously improve the market-oriented, legal-based and international business environment in three ways.
The first is to put forth effort into promoting marketization. Chongqing will strengthen the reform of the management system for foreign investment, fully implement the management system of pre-establishment national treatment and negative list for foreign investment, deepen the reform of delegating power, streamlining administration and optimizing government services, push forward the reform of the administrative approval system and the commercial system, and strengthen the supervision during and after an event.
The second is to put forth effort into promoting legalization. Chongqing will implement the Foreign Investment Law, introduce regulations on CFTZ, set up CFTZ court, commercial arbitration center, and IPR court, establish the only cooperation center for trademark examination in western China, improve the social credit system, and improve IPR protection.
The third is to put forth effort into promoting internationalization. Chongqing will accelerate the construction of a city with a beautiful natural landscape, build it into an international modern city and an international consumption center, and constantly improve its international urban functions and public service system.
Chongqing will take the initiative to serve the whole nation by deepening international and domestic wide-ranging and multi-level exchanges and cooperation through the platforms of the Smart China Expo and the Western China International Fair for Investment and Trade.
The city will continue to enrich the ties of exchanges and cooperation with the outside world. International forums and major conferences such as China-Singapore (Chongqing) Financial Summit, Belt and Road Forum for Interconnected Land-Sea Development, and Meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of the Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization were successfully held. With the two additional new consulates of Belarus and Uruguay in Chongqing, there were 12 consulate generals and 48 international sister cities in Chongqing in 2019.
Internally, Chongqing will continue to strengthen regional coordination. It has made a series of cooperation achievements by discussing with its sister provinces and cities to build the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor. By adhering to the principle of promoting well-coordinated environmental conservation and avoiding excessive development, Chongqing will play an exemplary role in the green development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt. In response to the deployment of promoting the construction of the Chengdu-Chongqing economic circle made on the sixth meeting of the Central Committee for Financial and Economic Affairs on January 3, Chongqing will make in-depth efforts to promote the construction of Chengdu-Chongqing economic circle and foster growth engine for high-quality development in western China.
Chongqing will play its leading role in the co-construction of the Belt and Road. Next, the city will focus on the implementation of Action Plan for Thoroughly Integrating into and Co-building the “Belt and Road” and Speeding up the Construction of an Exemplary Inland City of Opening-up, and further deepen the exchanges and cooperation with countries along the BRI routes, so as to drive the co-construction of the Belt and Road toward high-quality.
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