In visit to Poland, Xi links Silk Road with Amber Road
OUR CORRESPONDENT BEIJING—Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday concluded his state visit to Poland, the second leg of his three-nation Eurasia tour.
During his stay in Poland, which started on Sunday, Xi reached agreements with his Polish counterpart, Andrzej Duda, on promoting economic ties within China’s Belt and Road and Poland’s Amber Road frameworks, as the two countries seek new markets and frontiers for their development strategies.
The most visually impressive moment of the visit came on Monday afternoon, when an express freight train, with whistles blowing, slowly pulled into a cargo terminal in Warsaw. All the containers on board were painted with the uniform logo of CHINA RAILWAY Express.
Xi and Duda witnessed the moment on site, which marked the arrival of the first such trains from China along tracks that go as far as 10,000 kilometers to the coast of the west Pacific.
The new family brand consolidated the sometimes confusing China-Europe freights’ brands, which ply the route of the ancient Silk Road.
China-Europe freight rail transport has become the poster boy of China-Poland economic cooperation. Nearly all such trans-continental trains from China go through Poland, which sits in the very center of Europe.
Such geological advantage has put Poland on a unique position in the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, which comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21stCentury Maritime Silk Road and aims at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa.
The freight trains got not only a photo opportunity in the visit. Xi, Duda and Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo all talked about the rail service on multiple occasions.
With regular service, the trains will become a facilitator in two-way trade between China and Europe. Krzysztof Janeczko, a project manager in Hatrans Logistics company in the railway hub of Lodz, said they oversaw two freight trains from China each week, and more and more European companies are contacting them to transport goods to China via trains.
At an economic forum on Monday attended by Xi, Szydlo noted that China is the starting point of the Silk Road, while Poland is the starting point of Amber Road, which links the Baltic and the Black Sea regions. He added that during Xi’s visit, the two countries have inked cooperation agreements that could effectively link the two trading routes, bringing China closer to the doorsteps of Europe.
During Xi’s visit, leaders of the two countries talked about synergizing development strategies, while the Polish business community is more concerned about what China means for the nation’s economy.
Wojciech Mazurkiewicz, a portfolio manager at TFI PZU SA, an investment company, said that his company is looking to invest in corporate bonds in China, and actively seeking business opportunities to facilitate the Chinese investment in the Central and Eastern European (CEE) region. “China is becoming richer and richer. It is also exporting its capital,” said Mazurkiewicz. “Apart from being a transportation hub, Poland can be one of the financial hubs in this region for Chinese capital.”
Besides finance, an area Xi and Duda vowed to explore, they also agreed that the two countries should expand cooperation in agriculture, telecommunications, environmental protection, advanced technology, aviation and new energy.
Poland has been one of the most robust economies in Europe. With bilateral trade with China reaching 17.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2015, it has become China’s largest trading partner in the CEE region, and China Poland’s largest in Asia. Expanding economic interaction with the global economic powerhouse of China can be a boon to Poland.