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Liangjiang New Area: Inland Gateway for Opening-up

By RUI HUICHONGQING|Jun 18,2020

On May 31, the Commercial Vehicle Logistics Base of Yuzui Freight Station in Chongqing’s Liangjiang New Area was put into operation. From now onwards, finished automobile manufactures including Chang’an and SGMW in Yufu Park of Liangjiang New Area can distribute their finished vehicles to the markets across China by railway. At the same time, after the official operation of the base, the proportion of vehicle transportation in Liangjiang New Area and even Chongqing will increase by 30%-40%, which will significantly bring down the transportation cost.

Yuzui Freight Station is located in Guoyuan Port International Logistics Hub, which is one of the key areas for opening-up in Liangjiang New Area. A large number of functional platforms, including Guoyuan Port and Guoyuan Bonded Logistics Center (B-type), have been established here.

In a more macroscopic view, it is the core focus of Liangjiang New Area to build itself into an inland gateway for opening-up, regardless of whether to seize the great opportunity in the construction of Chengdu-Chongqing economic circle or to shoulder the heavy burden, take the lead and set an example in Chongqing’s main urban circle construction.

In recent years, Liangjiang New Area has been seizing the opportunities of globalization and regional economic integration, building a new pattern of opening-up from open channels, open platforms, open economy, open environment, and other aspects, and keeping strengthening its role in leading the development and opening up in the western region.

“Land-air” opening-up channels

Here the Silk Road and the Yangtze River meet, Chongqing Pilot Free Trade Zone and China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity project converge, new industries, new economies and new forms of business gather. Hence Liangjiang New Area has become a new landmark of inland reform and opening up. Guoyuan Port serves as “the world’s transit station.”

Chongqing Pilot Free Trade Zone and China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration on Strategic Connectivity project 

Focusing on building opening-up channels, Liangjiang New Area is striving to do an excellent job in promoting logistics through channel construction, economy, and trade through logistic development and industries through economy and trade development. In particular, it built Guoyuan Port as an important strategic hub node along the Belt and Road, making it an important strategic support point for the seamless connection of the International Land-Sea Trade Corridor (ILSTC), China Railway Express (Chongqing-Xinjiang-Europe) and the golden waterway of the Yangtze River, and building it into an international multimodal transport hub base.

In November 2019, the State Council approved Chongqing Port to expand the Guoyuan Port area, marking that Guoyuan Port has become a port for opening-up. This is great good news for Chongqing to accelerate the construction of multimodal transport integrated logistics hub and the construction of the shipping center in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River.

After its opening, its port service capacity and port operation capacity have been greatly enhanced and optimized. Some goods in the upper and middle reaches of the Yangtze River are also transhipped to Europe and ASEAN countries through the port’s operation area by means of combined transport of water and rail, which promotes the coordinated integration of the Belt and Road with the Yangtze River Economic Belt.

In recent years, the good news about Guoyuan Port has kept pouring in, and the progress of the construction of the port is even more impressive. This year, the port’s foreign trade container throughput and foreign trade container water transshipment volume and other indicators rise against all the odds. The port completed the cargo throughput of 3.238 million tons, a year-on-year growth of 13.4%, according to the data in the first quarter.

At present, the Guoyuan Port freight train of China Railway Express (Chongqing-Xinjiang-Europe) and the ILSTC (Guoyuan Port) freight train have all realized normal operation. In Guoyuan Bonded Logistics Center (B-type), enterprises such as Corning Display Technologies (Chongqing) Co., Ltd. have settled. Since it was put into operation in January this year, Guoyuan Bonded Logistics Center (B-type) has completed the total import and export of RMB 1.75 billion, and the overall development trend is sound.

Intelligent transformation is also speeding up. By the end of 2019, the RTG remote operation and control system was put into operation in the port, greatly improving the overall efficiency of operation. During the epidemic, Guoyuan Port introduced the “paperless platform” for containers, which dramatically reduced the operation time of transport vehicles and improved the efficiency of clearance.

Liangjiang New Area is also expanding its air opening-up network while expanding its opening-up transportation system on land. Recently, Chongqing has opened four international air routes to Luang Prabang, Vientiane, Okinawa, and Budapest. In 2019, Chongqing opened 13 new international air routes, including nine for passenger transport and four for freight. Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport has now had a total of 95 international and regional air routes.

In fact, it is also in line with the relevant plan of Chongqing to fully integrate into the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative to accelerate the construction of the inland opening-up hub. The meeting pointed out that to promote opening-up in inland areas, the construction of channels is a fundamental and decisive condition. Chongqing should coordinate the transportation in the four directions, four modes of transportation including railway, expressway, water, and air, and four factors including talent flow, logistics, capital flow, and information flow, as well as speed up the construction of major sea and outbound routes and support the construction of an international logistics hub in inland China.

Yuelai Exhibition Town in Liangjiang

Four opening-up platforms

Participating in the international division of labor, and getting integrated into the global market, Liangjiang New Area has explored new inland reform and opening-up path, integrated global advanced factors, promoted high-quality development and created high-quality life, and explored ways to integrate global industrial, value and supply chains in inland China.

2020 marked the third anniversary of the China (Chongqing) Pilot Free Trade Zone. Up to now, the number of foreign-funded enterprises in the area has reached 454, including 158 Fortune Global 500 enterprises. In the Liangjiang area of Chongqing Pilot Free Trade Zone, there are more than 24,000 market players with a total registered capital of over RMB 400 billion.

Since the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity project was launched, Liangjiang New Area, as the core carrying area, has seen 54 projects signed so far, which accounted for 29% of the total contracted projects in Chongqing, with a contract amount of USD 12 billion, accounting for 42.9% of the total in the whole city. A number of demonstrative and influential major projects have been launched.

Today, Liangjiang New Area is pooling together all kinds of global factors for opening-up, vigorously promoting the construction of the pilot free trade zone and the core zone of the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity project, and sparing no effort to build multi-dimensional platforms for opening-up including Guoyuan Port, Lianglu-Cuntan Free Trade Port Area, Jiangbeizui International Financial Center, Yuelai International Exhibition & Convention City and other international cooperation platforms.

As a window for opening up to the outside world in Liangjiang New Area, the Lianglu-Cuntan Free Trade Port Area has made outstanding achievements in recent years and kept improving. The overall development level of the port area has been among the top three bonded port areas in China.

In April this year, about 1.79 million cross-border e-commerce import orders were completed in the bonded port area, accounting for about 82.48% of the total import orders in Chongqing.

Relying on the advantageous resources of Liangjiang’s new area, the bonded port area continues to expand and strengthen the “Belt and Road” Commodity Exhibition and Trading Center, striving to build the most influential bonded commodity exhibition and trading center in China’s inland areas. As yet, the number of national characteristic commodity pavilions in the trading center has been increased to 20, with 50,000 commodity categories.

To seize the development opportunity of big data intelligence, the bonded port area is also undergoing a constant intelligent transformation. In the airport zone in the free trade zone, the intelligent manufacturers in the bonded port area, including Wistron, are export-oriented enterprises located in the special customs supervision zone and oriented to the division of labor and cooperation in the global industrial chain. With an annual industrial output value of nearly RMB 100 billion, these enterprises play an important role in promoting the construction of Liangjiang New Area and an inland hub for opening-up in Chongqing.

In the construction of opening-up platforms, new progress has been made in the construction of international cooperation platforms in Liangjiang New Area. During the epidemic lockdown period, Zhongguancun Medical Engineering Transformation Center (Chongqing) still had several projects signed online. The Chinese-Israeli Industrial Park not only introduces Israel’s technological projects but also sets an example for Liangjiang New Area to take the path towards internationalization.

In recent years, Liangjiang New Area has built a number of international cooperation industrial parks including China-Germany, China-Switzerland, China-Italy, China-Japan, China-South Korea and China-Israel industrial parks, and built functional platforms for the opening-up purpose such as finance, exhibition, logistics, and information platforms, with the agglomeration effect gradually emerging.

Developing an open economy

Openness is the cultural gene of Liangjiang New Area, while wisdom is a distinctive feature. Fully integrated into the construction of the Belt and Road Initiative and the development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt, Liangjiang New Area has taken the lead in driving opening-up in the inland areas in the west and is promoting high-quality development through high-level opening-up.

In recent years, Liangjiang New Area has done a good job in the introduction of foreign investment, foreign trade expansion, foreign economic development, focusing on the development of the open economy. Liangjiang New Area, to keep in line with the world’s top-level, has accelerated a new round of industrial planning, opening planning, innovative planning, urban planning, which has improved the institutional framework for opening-up in the area, laying a solid foundation for taking the lead in opening-up and driving it forward.

Cuntan Freight Station in Jiangbei

In developing industries, Liangjiang New Area insists on expanding and strengthening the four pillar industries including automobile, electronic information, equipment manufacturing and biomedicine, fiver modern services, namely finance, modern logistics, service trade, commerce, cultural tourism, and exhibition, as well as a number of strategic emerging industries such as big data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and blockchain. And the high-end, high-quality, and high-tech industries have clustered at a faster pace in the area.

Focusing on the fields of big data, artificial intelligence, integrated circuits, intelligent robots, intelligent manufacturing equipment, and so on, the new area ramps up efforts to introduce leading enterprises and complement the industrial chain and make it more competitive. It also accelerates the construction of the entire industrial chain of “chips, LCD panels, electrical devices, core components, and IoT” and “cloud, network, big data, cloud computing and application,” gathering 64 electronic enterprises above designated size. Relying on Wistron, BOE, AT&S, it has built a notebook computer manufacturing base with an annual output of 60 million units, a display photoelectric industrial cluster with an output value of RMB 50 billion, and an electronic material industrial cluster with an output value of RMB 50 billion.

In 2019, the total amount of investment attracted in Liangjiang New Area reached RMB 167.3 billion, including 23 major and large projects over RMB 1 billion and USD 6.07 billion of foreign-funded projects. Of the 35 enterprises newly settling in the area, 25 are from BRI partner countries, accounting for 70% of the total.

In addition, in improving the opening-up environment, especially in deepening reforms to delegate power, streamline administration and improve government services to create an efficient new model of smart government services, Liangjiang New Area will create a market-oriented, law-based and internationalized business environment through various means, especially paying attention to the protection of intellectual property rights. In the meantime, it is making every effort to improve the city functions in the aspects of internationalization, greening, intelligentization, and culture, so as to let all kinds of market players feel at ease to make an investment, operate a business and live a happy life here.

In 2020, for Liangjiang New Area and Tianfu New Area, both national new areas to undertake the strategic tasks of national development and reform and opening-up, the construction of the Chengdu-Chongqing economic circle has endowed them with new major missions. Meanwhile, promoting the Chengdu-Chongqing region to become an important economic center, scientific and technological innovation center, a new leading area of reform and opening-up, and a liveable place guaranteeing high-quality life with national influence has also brought historic development opportunities for the two new areas.

Liangjiang New Area will join hands with Tianfu New Area to build an important engine for driving the construction of the Chengdu-Chongqing economic circle and an important strategic platform for inland opening-up.

Liangjiang New Area is now at the critical juncture of starting a new undertaking, and will also be brave to shoulder the mission and task of leading Chongqing in expanding opening-up to the outside world. Aiming at the goal of building an inland opening-up gateway, it will strive to make greater contributions to the construction of the Chengdu-Chongqing economic circle.

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