Manzhouli, world meet via B&R

Manzhouli is key to the north­ward open­ing-up of In­ner Mon­go­lia.”

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - Business -

— Ok­tyab­rina does not know much about the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, but she knows enough about money.

Lo­cated in the China-Rus­sia tax-free trade zone in Manzhouli, Ok­tyab­rina’s com­pany is do­ing well, very well.

In July, the high sea­son in Manzhouli, 2,000 peo­ple visit her shop ev­ery day, most of them buy­ing im­ported good­ies from Rus­sia.

“Candy and flour are our big­gest sell­ers. Sales are up 20 per­cent from last July. Tax ex­emp­tions mean cus­tomers spend less and we earn more. It is the very def­i­ni­tion of win-win,” said Ding Yan­ping, Ok­tyab­rina’s Chi­nese busi­ness part­ner.

Ding owns 50 per­cent of the com­pany and is in charge of the shop’s daily man­age­ment.

Ok­tyab­rina’s shop is just one of over 50 Rus­sian com­pa­nies reg­is­tered in the Manzhouli tax-free zone, at­tracted by good lo­gis­tics and speedy cus­toms clear­ance.

Since it was es­tab­lished last June, 170 mil­lion yuan ($25.4 mil­lion) — 22,000 tonnes — of Rus­sian im­ports has passed through the port.

“The tax-free trade zone is a bridge link­ing China and Rus­sia shar­ing the pros­per­ity of both coun­tries. That’s what the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive is all about,” said Zhang Jinzhu, man­ager of the trade zone.

With a pop­u­la­tion of 300,000, Manzhouli is im­por­tant on Eurasian land pas­sage­ways and the Chi­naMon­go­lia-Rus­sia Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor or CMREC. Nearly 70 per­cent of trade be­tween China and Rus­sia passes through Manzhouli.

“We are in­te­grat­ing our plans with the Belt and Road. We are key to the north­ward open­ing-up of In­ner Mon­go­lia,” said Xu Ail­ian, mayor of Manzhouli. mayor of Manzhouli

The idea of the CMREC emerged in Septem­ber 2014 dur­ing the first tri­lat­eral meet­ing of the heads of state of the three coun­tries in Ta­jik­istan and, in 2016, it be­came the first mul­ti­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion plan to be­come part of the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive.

The CMREC has two key ar­ter­ies: one from the Bei­jing-Tian­jin-He­bei re­gion to Ho­hhot and on to Mon­go­lia and Rus­sia; the other from China’s north­east­ern prov­inces through Manzhouli into Rus­sia. The chan­nels have im­proved con­nec­tiv­ity and co­op­er­a­tion in border re­gions and have led to the over­haul of cus­toms pro­ce­dures.

As the bridge­head of north­ward open­ing-up, Manzhouli is a shin­ing light of eco­nomic growth of In­ner Mon­go­lia au­ton­o­mous re­gion, which cel­e­brated its 70th an­niver­sary on Aug 8.

Over seven decades, the re­gion’s econ­omy has ex­panded from 537 mil­lion yuan to 1.86 tril­lion yuan, first among the coun­try’s five au­ton­o­mous re­gions.

In­ner Mon­go­lia’s for­eign trade has in­creased from 30 mil­lion yuan to 77.3 bil­lion yuan since the be­gin­ning of re­form and open­ing-up.

“In the fu­ture, we will con­duct more prac­ti­cal co­op­er­a­tion with Mon­go­lia and Rus­sia to in­vig­o­rate the grass­land Silk Road,” said Manzhouli Mayor Xu Ail­ian.

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