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Chongqing aims to lead opening-up of western China's inland regions
China Daily
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Chongqing aims to lead opening-up of western China's inland regions

Chongqing has advanced the construction of the New Western Land-Sea Trade Corridor, with an emphasis on improving the collection and distribution system of the international logistics channel, said a top official of the municipality in Southwest China.

Chongqing, which is not only a transportation hub but also a gathering place for people, cargo, capital and information, aims to lead the opening-up of western China's inland regions, said Mayor Hu Henghua in Beijing at a news conference held by the State Council Information Office.

"Currently, we are building an industrial park to create an advanced equipment and material base and a logistics and modern supply chain service base. It can connect the New Western Land-Sea Trade Corridor, the China-Europe Railway Express and the Yangtze River Golden Waterway, amplifying the effects of corridor, trade and industry linkage," he said.

In April, the city signed contracts and started construction of the first group of key projects in the park, with the total investment exceeding 40 billion yuan ($5.52 billion).

Chongqing is the initiator of the corridor, which aims to enhance connectivity and trade between western China and member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Zheng Xiangdong, vice-mayor of Chongqing, said that rail-sea intermodal trains, international railway intermodal trains and cross-border road shuttles are part of the corridor's traffic network, with new routes such as the China-Laos-Thailand round-trip freight train and the China-Myanmar rail-and-road intermodal train being extended. So far, the corridor can reach 514 ports in 123 countries and regions.

The comprehensive logistics cost of corridor transportation decreased 3.5 percent year-on-year in 2023 due to digital transformation initiatives such as data sharing among customs, railways and other departments to improve efficiency, Zheng said.

Chongqing will further accelerate infrastructure development as well as improve the international logistics aggregation and distribution system, he said.

The city will deepen cross-border industrial and supply chain cooperation and establish an international trade center. It also will prioritize reform and innovation, explore new rules for land-sea trade and upgrade the digital corridor, he added.

Chongqing, which launched the first trains for the China-Europe Railway Express, has operated nearly 16,000 train trips, shipping 1.3 million twenty-foot equivalent units of goods with a total cargo value exceeding 530 billion yuan.

"Amid uncertainties in international trade and logistics, the continuous expansion of the express is certain in the future," Zheng said.

This is because the corridor transportation network continues to improve, with 51 routes currently in operation, connecting 113 cities in Europe and Asia, he said, emphasizing that the efficiency of the corridor services also continues to improve.

"Recently, with some international maritime routes facing disruptions, the volume and value of goods transported from Chongqing to Europe through the express railway route increased 217 percent and 190 percent, respectively, demonstrating the resilience and potential of international trade via land transportation.

As the city with the largest area and population in China, Chongqing reported GDP growth of 6.1 percent last year, becoming the first city in the country's western region with GDP exceeding 3 trillion yuan. In the first quarter of this year, its GDP growth reached 6.2 percent.

Hu, the mayor, said the city aims to reach a new GDP threshold of 4 trillion yuan in 2027.

"The revitalization of old industrial bases has brought new vitality, with sectors such as intelligent connected new energy vehicles and next-generation electronic information manufacturing," Hu said.

Globally, for every three laptops produced, one is made in Chongqing, he added.

China DailyGu Yetao

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