Cooperation platforms boost international trade in Shandong

East China's Shandong province has been revving up international cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative with more cooperation platforms and channels, local officials said.

In recent days, Xiang Zhiqiang, deputy director of the management committee of the China-Shanghai Cooperation Organization Demonstration Zone for Local Economic and Trade Cooperation in Qingdao, has been busy dealing with business processing with local customs authorities.

The China-SCO demonstration zone in Qingdao is intended to boost economic collaboration with Shanghai Cooperation Organization members. [Photo/VCG]

After more than a year of development, the China-SCO demonstration zone has introduced a number of large logistics and warehousing companies.

"Many new problems need to be solved urgently, as the demonstration zone is developing quickly," Xiang said.

According to Xiang, the zone has been working with local customs and other departments to deepen reforms on administrative approvals and to better serve the companies in the zone.

A truck moves containers at a foreign trade container terminal in Qingdao, East China's Shandong province, on April 15, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

The construction plan for the China-SCO demonstration zone was passed during the ninth meeting of the central committee for deepening overall reform on July 24, 2019.  

The zone is intended to create a better platform for international cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative and develop collaboration in logistics, trade, investment, tourism and culture.

In order to refine the policies serving the development of the demonstration zone, Xiang and his team carried out a series of innovative reforms with 21 departments including customs, commerce and transportation.

"This March, we conducted online negotiations with the consulates of 10 SCO member countries and reached 38 agreements. Some companies involved in two-way investment and international logistics have also registered in the demonstration zone," Xiang said.

Cities in Shandong are also exploring more platforms to cooperate with countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.

The Dezhou - ASEAN Project Center in Shandong's Dezhou city has hosted a series of online project-matchmaking conferences to promote local cooperation with the ASEAN market amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Our main export markets are in Europe and the US, where the epidemic outbreak has blocked export routes. Thanks to the Dezhou - ASEAN Project Center, we have opened up the Southeast Asian market and have secured orders from eight countries," said a manager from Kelang Biological Equipment Co, a local enterprise that produces beer brewing equipment.

"We will continue to improve services and expand channels to facilitate more cooperation," said Yang Lifen, director of the Dezhou - ASEAN Project Center.

Relying on a variety of platforms, Shandong's trade with countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative grew by 10.3 percent year on year in the first four months of 2020 to 196.18 billion yuan ($27.64 billion), according to customs statistics, despite an overall decline in the province's foreign trade.