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Southern coastal city gains new growth momentum


12-04-2016 13:03 BJT

The city of Zhanjiang in south China's Guangdong province is poised to play an active role in turning the country into a major maritime power. The city is a key stop in the country's Belt and Road Initiative and an important gateway to Southeast Asia. Zhanjiang has made significant strides in its economic relations with the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. CCTV's Hou Na visits the Zhanjiang Port and brings us this story. 

As one of the gateways between Guangdong province and Southeast Asia, Zhanjiang prioritizes cooperation in ports, trade and the sharing of culture.

"Zhanjiang port is one of the major ports in South China and the nearest in countries to Southeast Asia, Europe and Africa. New shipping lines have been launched to meet the growing demand for the trade between China and ASEAN countries," Hou Na said.

For instance, fruits from Southeast Asia can be shipped to Zhanjiang within 30 hours and from there, distributed to the rest of China. 

The 10-nation ASEAN bloc is the largest market for Zhanjiang's exports and the city's second-largest trading partner. Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand are Zhanjiang's top three trading partners in the region.

"Zhanjiang Port has become one of China’s 25 pivotal seaports and a major port. It's also the premier foreign trade port for the midwest and south regions, and the main distribution center for energy resources and raw materials in southern China," said Wang Yue, Vice President of Zhanjiang Port Group.

Since the establishment of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area in 2010, the flow of goods between Zhanjiang and Southeast Asia has increased by 18.6 percent annually on average. The city's commerce bureau says 431 million US dollars worth of goods flowed between the city and Southeast Asia in 2011. That number reached nearly 800 million US dollars in 2015.

The port of Zhanjiang has gained approval from the central government for the importation of fruit and grain. This is expected to help trade volumes grow further.  

"Zhanjiang and ASEAN are both opening up and this creates huge business opportunities, with traditional trade relations standing as the foundation of the relationship between the two sides," said Wang Zhongbing, Mayor of Zhanjiang.

The city has officially been approved as one of the pilot cities for the development of innovation in the marine economy. A fund of 300 million yuan or about 44 million US dollars is allocated for this purpose.

Officials say the move will help attract more leading small and medium-sized enterprises to the city, fueling the continued development of the maritime industry.

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