BRI boosts foreign trade of China's port city

Updated: Nov 2, 2023 Xinhua Print
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TIANJIN - About 28.5 tons of resin, produced by a new materials manufacturer, recently embarked on a journey from the northern Chinese port city of Tianjin to Thailand, where these goods can enjoy preferential tariffs under the China-ASEAN free trade agreement.

"The past 10 years have been a 'golden decade' for us. Our exports to the Belt and Road partner countries and regions have increased from over 100 tons per year to over 10,000 tons per year now," said Fan Tao, sales department chief of Tianjin Luhua Hongjin New Material Technology Co Ltd.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). So far, more than 150 countries and over 30 international organizations have signed Belt and Road cooperation agreements, with the initiative extending from the Eurasian continent to Africa and Latin America.

As a core international shipping hub in northern China, Tianjin has been accelerating efforts to build itself into a world-class port city, facilitating trade with Belt and Road partners over the past decade.

From 2013 to 2022, Tianjin's total foreign trade with Belt and Road partners reached 3.09 trillion yuan ($430.5 billion), accounting for more than 40 percent of the city's trade in the period, according to data from Tianjin Customs.

Various free trade agreements signed between China and BRI partner countries and regions have benefited the enterprises. "The China-ASEAN Free Trade Certificate of Origin has offered our clients about 2.25 million yuan in tariff relief this year," Fan said.

Tianjin Customs has issued 35,000 certificates of origin of various free trade agreements for 17.5 billion yuan worth of goods exported to BRI partner countries and regions this year.

The BRI has also provided huge business opportunities for private enterprises in Tianjin. Over the past 10 years, the imports and exports of Tianjin's private enterprises to BRI partners increased from 54.78 billion yuan in 2013 to 142.29 billion yuan in 2022.

During the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held last month, the BRI cooperation partners agreed to further enhance trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and support cooperation on customs clearance facilitation and law enforcement, especially mutual recognition of Authorized Economic Operators (AEOs).

A mutual recognition agreement of AEO status signed between China and South Africa went into effect on Sept 1, according to the General Administration of Customs.

In the same month, Denso Air System Tianjin Co Ltd exported a batch of 1,920 automobile air conditioning components to South Africa.

"As a company with AEO status, we can enjoy simplified customs procedures. We are looking for more cooperation with South African companies," said Xuan Meng, the logistics chief of the company.

Tianjin's total exports of lithium-ion batteries, solar cells and electric vehicles have increased from 1.8 billion yuan in 2013 to 7.96 billion yuan in 2022, with an average annual growth of 17.9 percent.

Tianjin, a major auto export hub in northern China, has maintained a strong growth momentum in the exports of new energy vehicles this year.

A storage yard at the ro-ro terminal of Tianjin Port is brimming with vehicles from various brands, and an increasing proportion of them are new energy vehicles set for overseas shipment.

Shi Yunsheng, general manager of Tianjin Huatu Automobile Logistics Co Ltd, said the company exported a total of 2,036 new energy vehicles in 2022, compared with 252 units in 2021.

"Our new energy vehicles have been exported to Africa, South America, the Middle East and Europe. We are expanding overseas to seek further cooperation with auto companies from the BRI cooperation partners," Shi said.

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