Trade at Horgos slated for 14% surge
Cross-border trade volume at Horgos Port, a border station connecting China and Kazakhstan, is expected to grow by 14 percent by the end of this year as Central Asian and European countries vie for larger footholds in the Chinese market.
Horgos is a land entry port, also known as a border station, in the Ili Kazakh autonomous prefecture of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. Its history can be traced back to China’s Sui Dynasty (AD 581-618), when the port served as part of the Silk Road trade routes.
“The new economic opportunities were created by the cooperation between China and Kazakhstan to build the Horgos International Border Cooperation Center, the first cross-border international cooperation center in Eurasia,” said Liu Yanong, deputy director of Horgos Port’s administrative committee.
The center — on which construction began in 2011 and is now nearly complete — is built across the border between the two nations and is located near the town of Horgos in Xinjiang. Exactly 3.43 square kilometers of the center is located in Xinjiang, and the rest, 1.85 square km, lies in Kazakhstan. It serves as a free trade zone, an industrial innovation park and a crossborder logistics hub.
Horgos is the largest land port in Northwest China and is poised to become one of the most important ports in the country. It is located near a natural gas pipeline that stretches between China and Kazakhstan. Trade volume at Horgos Port reached 22 million metric tons in 2013.
Trade demand between China and Central Asia, Liu said, may push the trade volume at Horgos Port to 25 million tons this year, mostly because of surging imports of Central Asian farm products and natural gas over the past two years.
In the first quarter of this year, more than 107,400 foreigners passed China’s immigration entry points at Horgos Port — roughly half of whom were Kazakhstanis. Kazakhstan, whose economic development is the strongest among the five Central Asian countries, has had close trade and economic ties with China in recent years. Bilateral trade between the two nations reached $28.6 billion in 2013.
“Traders from both sides can purchase duty-free products up to 8,000 yuan ($1,272) per day at the center, higher than the limit of 5,000 yuan in South China’s Hainan province, the country’s international tourism island,” said Liu.
“Central Asian countries are not the only beneficiaries of the center’s favorable trade and investment policies,” Liu said. “The first round of duty-free vehicle imports from Europe will arrive at the center in Horgos via rail in the second half of June.”
Through Horgos, trade between China, Central Asia and Europe is thriving, with a high traffic of trucks and regular international freight trains carrying goods and commodities such as textiles, vehicle parts, pharmaceutical products, daily products, mechanical equipment and home appliances.
Liu said a 305-km highway between Horgos to Almaty, the largest city in Kazakhstan, will be completed in 2016, and Horgos will become a major land port for grain imports.
Gan Changchun, deputy director of Xinjiang’s Development and Reform Commission, said more manufacturing products such as vehicles and highend machineries can be transported from Europe to China through highways, which should help create jobs in many surrounding towns and villages along the Silk Road economic belt.
Merchants from Kazakhstan deal with orders at a trade center in Horgos, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, on Wednesday. Through the port, trade between China, Central Asia and Europe is thriving.