(Written by Huang Yunyun / Translated by Chen Zhiying)
In March 2020, Guangxi Baise Key Development and Opening-up Experimental Zone was officially established. It’s the first Key Development and Opening-up Experimental Zone located in border and covering the whole Baise city in China, and also a new platform for China and ASEAN to build the “Belt and Road” with high quality.
As time passes by, what’s like in Baise now? This year marks the opening year of China’s 14th Five-Year Plan. How will Baise develop? At the press conference of Comprehensively Promoting the Construction of the Baise Key Development and Opening-up Experimental Zone in Guangxi, Zhou Yijue, Secretary of the Baise Municipal Party Committee, Ge Guoke, Mayor of Baise, Shi Guohuai, Executive Vice Mayor of Baise answered there questions.
Focusing on border opening-up
Baise has access to rivers and seas, and borders ASEAN in the south and the southwest hinterland of China in the north. Boasting such location advantage, it is destined to make a great contribution to the opening of borders in China. Realizing international cargo transportation, cross-border trade and tourism are inseparable from the construction and opening of ports.
“Great progress has been made in the opening of Baise,” said Zhou Yijue. At present, Baise has one international port, one national class-I port and one national class-Ⅱ port. Among them, Longbang port was upgraded to an international port in early May 2021 and opened to Naxi passage. On May 26, 2021, the temporary opening of Nasi passage at Longbang port passed the inspection of the Customs, and the relevant documents were signed. The phaseⅡ of Pingmeng port inspection area has started, and Pingmeng Customs has also been established.
At Longbang port, we can see trucks shuttling between China and Vietnam. It is a convenient land passage connecting western Guangxi, eastern Yunnan, and southern Guizhou to Vietnam and ASEAN countries. The counterpart of the Longbang port in Vietnam is Huung Quoc port in Tra Linh Dstrict, Cao Bang Province. After the upgrade to become an international port, Longbang port has allowed the entry and exit of personnel, goods and vehicles from all countries from the original customs clearance between China and Vietnam.
As we all know, ASEAN is rich in herbal medicine resources and fruits. At present, the designated supervision site for the entry of medicinal materials and fruits at Longbang port has been approved by the General Administration of Customs to operate. At the same time, Baise is also speeding up the declaration of designated supervision sites for the entry of chilled aquatic products and grain. This will better meet the demand of different imported commodities.
According to Ge Guoke, Baise will strive to build Longbang port into an international port with high level of customs clearance capacity and intelligence. The customs clearance capacity will reach more than 10 million tons per year. At the same time, the expressway connecting Pingmeng port and Yuewei port and the infrastructure enhancing the customs clearance capacity of Pingmeng port will also be upgraded.
Developing infrastructure to promote connectivity
For Baise, transportation infrastructure can realize the connection with the domestic hinterland and improve the accessibility with foreign markets. In recent years, Baise is striving to become a regional comprehensive transportation hub with the support of the state, and has established the connectivity of highway, water transportation, railway and aviation.
In terms of highway construction, Baise is weaving a dense highway network. Since the experimental zone was approved, three expressways have been built locally and the construction of 10 expressways from Leye to Wangmo and Napo to Pingmeng have been started, according to Zhou Yijue. In terms of water transportation, the You River channel regulation project is started, the study report of the feasibility of navigation facilities of Baise water control has been approved, and the green water transport blueprint has gradually become a reality.
In terms of railway construction, Huangtong-Baise Railway, the landmark project of the New Western Land-Sea Trade Corridor west line, has been listed in China’s “14th Five-Year Plan”. It winds from north to south, meeting the needs of goods exchange between northwest Guizhou, Chengdu, and Chongqing and Baise, Nanning and Beibu Gulf areas in Guangxi. “After the completion, it will become the shortest land channel passing the Longbang port while connecting the China-Indochina Peninsula in the western region, making the location advantage of the experimental zone more prominent,” said Ge Guoke.
The demand for opening up pushes Baise to accelerate the development of a national logistics hub facing ASEAN and connecting countries and regions along the Belt and Road. At present, the cross-border train “Baise No. 1” from Nanning to Hanoi has realized normal operation. The train also established logistics distribution centers in Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi, Phnom Penh, Bangkok, etc., gradually expanding its circles.
In terms civil aviation, Baise Bama Airport can not meet the passenger and freight demand in the experimental zone. The construction of an air corridor has become a vital part in building Baise experimental zone into a transportation hub. On January 6, 2021, the construction of Leye Airport was officially started. It is the first county-level airport approved to be built in Guangxi. Relying on the airport, Leye County will utilize natural and tourism resources to build an aviation tourism town integrating air sightseeing, paraglide glide, flight training, leisure and health care. In addition, Pingguo and Jingxi are also carrying out the preliminary work of site selection to build airports.
“Next, we will promote the upgrading of the routes, and in accordance with the standard of the throughput of 1.5 million passengers by 2035, we will promote the expansion of the airport and strive for national support to open ASEAN national routes,” said Ge Guoke.
Developing industries to gain economic benefits
All measures to expand opening up must serve the goal of economic development. For border cities, channel economy and foreign trade are of great important. Zhou Yijue said that at present, 19 border trade import processing projects in Baise have been completed and passed the inspection. In 2020, the total import and export volume of the city was RMB 4.7 billion yuan, up 59.5% year on year.
In addition, in order to achieve the goal of high quality development, Baise is exploring ways to transform and upgrade traditional industries and achieving in-depth industrial cooperation.
To attract investment, Baise Municipal Government has shown full sincerity to optimize the business environment, and issued Measures to Attract Investment in Guangxi Baise Key Development and Opening-up Experimental Zone. We will take the lead in promoting market supervision, realizing zero cost for establishing enterprises, reducing water and electricity prices, and innovating the mode of land use out of industrial purposes in the whole city.
The market also gave good feedback to Baise. Zhou Yijue introduced that Baise vigorously attracted industrial investment, held three special promotion meetings for Baise Experimental Zone, and signed 192 projects, with a total investment of RMB 115.08 billion yuan. Taking aluminum industry, the characteristic industry of Baise, as an example, Runtai Aluminum, Rainbow Aluminum, Dede Materials and other aluminum deep processing projects have been put into operation. Among them, the annual output of 500,000 tons of high-quality aluminum plate, strip and foil project of Guangxi Runtai Aluminum Co., Ltd. is an important project in Guangxi. Once put into operation, it can realize an annual output value of about RMB 9 billion yuan. Jili Baikuang’s 10 million aluminum wheel project, Baise modern forestry industrial park, and other projects have also started one after another.
Deepening international cooperation in production capacity has also played an important part for Baise to promote the development of aluminum industry as Cao Bang Province in Vietnam, which is adjacent to Baise, is rich in bauxite resources. Baise is speeding up the construction of cross-border aluminum industrial park, establishing overseas alumina production base, accelerating the building of China-ASEAN (Baise) Aluminum Products Spot Trading Center, and building a China-ASEAN emerging aluminum industry base with international competitiveness.
Ge Guoke said that during the 14th Five-Year Period, Baise will continue to build an open cooperation platform, promote the construction of border economic cooperation zone, comprehensive bonded zone, bonded logistics center, etc. At the same time, it will innovate and develop border industries, and promote the development of cross-border logistics, e-commerce, trade, tourism, import and export processing, etc., to create a distinctive and dynamic border economic belt.
In order to fulfill the important mission of building an upgraded version of the development and opening up in border areas of China, Baise Municipal Government has also accelerated the construction of a scientific and efficient system, emphasized green development, optimized the talent introduction mechanism, and provided “software” support for the experimental zone.
Taking advantages of the Belt and Road and the New Western Land-Sea Trade Corridor, Baise, a seemingly remote and closed border city in Guangxi, is injecting new impetus into building an open cooperation highland facing ASEAN and serving the Belt and Road with a new look.