The 77th Press Conference on Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region
(July 12, 2022 Beijing)
Xu Guixiang: Dear friends from the media, good afternoon.
Welcome to the 77th press conference. I am Xu Guixiang, spokesman of the People's Government of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
First of all, I would like to introduce the participants of today’s press conference. They are Mao Hui, Deputy Director General of Development and Reform Commission of XUAR, Mehrigul Tursun, Director of International Expo Bureau, Department of Commerce of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Another 6 representatives from local communities will join us via video link and share relevant information with us. They are Zhong Hehua,Deputy Director of Urumqi International Land Port Development Service Center, Ma Haitao, Deputy Director of Kashgar Economic Development Zone Management Committee, Fan Zengxi, Deputy Director of Horgos Economic Development Zone Management Committee, Liu Chong, Deputy Director of Tacheng Port Management Committee. Fang Zhong, Executive Vice President of Xinjiang Goldwind Sci & Tech Co., Ltd., Yu Chengzhong, Chairman of Horgos Jinyi International Trade Co. Ltd.
Photo taken on July 12, 2022 shows Xu Guixiang, spokesman of People’s Government of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region speaks and answers questions at the 77th Press Conference on Xinjiang-related Issues by XUAR in Beijing. Photo by Xinjiang Daily/Zheng Zhuo
As we all know, Xinjiang is an important conduit of civilization exchanges between the East and the West. As an pivotal part of the ancient Silk Road, Xinjiang is the core area of Silk Road Economic Belt and the forefront of China’s westward opening up. With years of unremitting efforts, benefiting from consistent social stability, all people in Xinjiang have shared the fruits of development. Today’s Xinjiang enjoys social stability, economic development, cultural diversity, ethnic unity and religious harmony. Both sides of the Tianshan Mountains are prosperous, and people of all ethnic groups live and work in peace and contentment.
Xinjiang offers precious historical opportunities thanks to its geographical position, rich resources and favorable policies. More and more people are attracted to invest and settle in Xinjiang. From July 4 to 9, representatives of business community have visited Xinjiang. They are from 13 countries: Turkey, New Zealand, France, Russia, Malaysia, Tanzania, Mexico, Japan, Lebanon, Korea, Syrian, Italy and Kenya. They had extensive conversations with counterparts in Xinjiang, yielding fruitful results.
Xinjiang’s westward opening up embodies win-win cooperation, mutual learning of civilizations, openness and peace. Xinjiang will commit to the vision of extensive consultation, joint contribution, and usher in development featuring balanced development, benefits shared by all, and win-win cooperation. Xinjiang will seek greater synergy in opening up through links running eastward and westward so as to bring in closer economic ties and deepen cooperation. There will be more development opportunities for all with regional cooperation taking shape. We would like to join you to embrace a brighter future. Next, representatives from various sectors will give introductions to relevant situations.
First, I will give the floor to Mr. Mao Hui, Deputy Director General of the Development and Reform Commission of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. He will brief you on the overall situation of Xinjiang's international exchange and cooperation.
Photo taken on July 12, 2022 shows Mao Hui, Deputy Director General of Development and Reform Commission of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region speaks at the 77th Press Conference on Xinjiang-related Issues by XUAR in Beijing. Photo by Xinjiang Daily/Zheng Zhuo
Mao Hui: Good afternoon. The following is about Xinjiang's external exchange and cooperation and the core area development of the Silk Road Economic Belt.
First, prominent advantages in deepening foreign exchange and cooperation. Located in the heart of Eurasia, Xinjiang, which used to be an important passage of the ancient Silk Road, has become a key gateway of China’s westward opening up and the core area of the Silk Road Economic Belt. As the Belt and Road cooperation is deepening, Xinjiang's unique advantages continue to emerge, facilitating the fast shift of the region into a hub of China’s westward opening up.
Unparalleled geographic location. Xinjiang borders eight countries and is located at the crossroads of the New Eurasian Continental Bridge, China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor, China-Central Asia-West Asia Economic Corridor, and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. The China-Europe Railway Express connects China domestic and international markets with a population of more than 1.3 billion. The advantages of the Xinjiang region as a transportation hub have become increasingly obvious.
Abundant natural resources. Xinjiang is rich in petroleum, natural gas, coal and other mineral resources. It is China’s production base of high-quality commercial cotton, the largest fruit production base and a major base of livestock industry. Moreover, Xinjiang’s neighbouring Central Asia region is one of the regions in the world with richest reserves of mineral resources. Central Asia countries and Xinjiang are highly complementary economically, providing important support for the autonomous region to conduct external exchange and cooperation, to serve and and integrate into Belt and Road cooperation.
Profound cultural heritage. Xinjiang is an important base for cultural exchange and communication between the East and the West. After a long history of different cultures communicating and integrating with each other, Xinjiang has formed a cultural landscape of distinctive ethnic and local features.Xinjiang has a long history of friendship with neighbouring countries, which provide unrivaled cultural affinity for Xinjiang’s external change and cooperation.
Preferential policies. China’s central authorities have set up in Xinjiang 55 national key platforms covering 13 categories of opening up and industrial development, with a series of policy measures attached to these initiatives. For example, Kashgar and Horgos economic development zones are entitled exemptions and reductions of enterprise income tax according to the policies of the central government and Xinjiang. Such policies have created good conditions for attracting investment attraction and promoting industrial clusters.
Solid foundation for development. Thanks to the strong support of the central government over the recent years. Stability brings benefits, socioeconomic development is gaining momentum, and a large number of infrastructure and key industrial projects that bear on the region’s overall and long-term development. Modern agriculture, as embodied by cereals, cotton, fruit and livestock, has entered the stage of efficient and high-quality development. Labor-intensive industries continue to grow, and resource-intensive industries are gaining pace. Emerging industries maintains rapid development, and tourism advances robustly. Xinjiang's unique geographic advantages are being translated into economic and development strengths, therefore laying a solid material foundation for deepening foreign exchange and cooperation.
Second, remarkable results achieved Xinjiang's external exchange and cooperation. In recent years, with the core area building of the Silk Road Economic Belt as the engine, Xinjiang actively integrated its regional opening-up strategies into China’s overall plan of westward opening-up, conducted exchange and cooperation with foreign countries, and achieved fruitful results.
Policy communication and alignment is strengthened. We strengthened inter-government economic and trade exchanges and cooperation with Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Armenia, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia, among others, established and improved joint Covid-19 response mechanisms with neighboring countries, signed 21 cooperation agreements with 25 countries and international organizations. Xinjiang has established economic ties with 190 countries and regions, and established 45 pairs of sister cities with foreign countries. Xinjiang keeps expanding its circle of friends for cooperation.
Infrastructure connectivity continues to improve. Xinjiang has opened 118 international overland transportation routes, accounting for one third of China's total. The expressway linking Xinjiang with Europe is in operation, and the second railway linking Xinjiang with Kazakhstan has been completed put in use. The preliminary work for the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway and China-Pakistan railway is progressing smoothly. At present, Xinjiang has 25 civil airports, its air-traffic network within the region and the rest of China is improving at a faster pace. 26 cross-border optical cables two channels transmitting Xinjiang generated electricity to the other parts of China, and three corridors transporting natural gas from west to east were completed and put in use. The infrastructure network covering highway, railway, aviation, pipelines and communications have taken shape.
Economic, trade and investment cooperation continues to expand. With it in mind, Xinjiang has roughly put in place industrial chains, supply chains and logistics chains connecting the domestic market with that to the west of Xinjiang. Xinjiang has invested in more than 60 countries and regions, and constructed four overseas industrial parks. Xinjiang has held six sessions of China Eurasia Expo and 43 sessions of Xinjiang Commodity Fair in neighboring countries. RMB cross-border settlement covers 110 countries and regions.
People-to-people ties continues to deepen. Xinjiang has established a cross-border telemedicine service platform with 24 large foreign hospitals and set up a "cloud hospital" with neighbouring countries. The building of the innovation-oriented Experimental Zone of the Silk Road Economic Belt is gathering momentum. Xinjiang has conducted scientific and technological cooperation with 45 countries and regions (organizations), covering more than 400 scientific research institutions. The "Study in Xinjiang" initiative is moving ahead smoothly. A large number of foreign students from neighboring countries are studying on the region’s campuses, who play an important role as an important bridge and link in international exchanges and cooperation. Xinjiang vigorously implements the strategy of "Energize Xinjiang’s Economy through Tourism", with tourist arrivals and revenue registering handsome increases. Xinjiang has become an important tourism destination in the world.
The building of key platforms achieved remarkable results. The demonstration assembly center of China-Europe Railway Express in Urumqi International Land Port (UILP) is gaining momentum, and services ensuring the efficient operation of China-Europe train are enhanced. Key economic indicators of Kashgar and Horgos Economic Development Zones maintain double-digit growth, and export-oriented industries are concentrating at a faster pace and are having stronger capacity for driving development of the surrounding areas. The building of the economic belt based on the region’s ports of entry is making steady headway: Horgos Railway Port is officially open to foreigners; Yining Airport is approved to open to foreign traffic; Kalasu Port has become open year round. The experimental zone building for opening up in Tacheng prefecture kicked off in full swing, with the investment in fixed assets exceeding 20 billion yuan.
Third, priority agendas for promoting Xinjiang's external exchange and cooperation. In the next step, we will respond actively to the BRI, ground our efforts in the new development stage, follow the new development philosophy, and integrate into the new development paradigm. We will give full play to Xinjiang’s geographic advantages, take high-level opening up and international cooperation as the guidance, prioritize key countries, regions, fields, and projects, and continuously optimize Urumqi International Port Area, strengthen the capability of Kashgar and Horgos Economic Development Zones, enhance the role of ports-based economic belt, and improve the inter-connectivity network and trade and logistics system, expanding the breadth and depth of westward opening up, and unleashing the vitality of high-quality development in the core area of Silk Road Economic Belt. We will enable more entities to engage in external exchange and cooperation, upgrade the level of opening up to the outside world, innovate and open economic system, strive to build Xinjiang into a hub of opening up in China’s inland and border regions, and play an active role in Belt and Road cooperation and building a community with a shared future for mankind.
We sincerely invite you to visit Xinjiang, learn more about the region, strengthen communication and exchange, broaden cooperation, enjoy the benefits of Belt and Road cooperation, and jointly create a bright future.
Xu Guixiang: Dear friends, just now Deputy Director General Mao Hui talked about the building of the core region of the Silk Road Economic Belt. Next, I will give the floor to Mehrigul Tursun, Director of International Expo Bureau, Department of Commerce of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. She will brief you on Xinjiang's international economic and trade cooperation.
Photo taken on July 12, 2022 shows Mehrigul Tursun, Director of International Expo Bureau, Department of Commerce of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region speaks at the 77th Press Conference on Xinjiang-related Issues by XUAR in Beijing. Photo by Xinjiang Daily/Zheng Zhuo
Mehrigul Tursun: In recent years, under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, Xinjiang has pursued mutual benefits and win-win cooperation by building a highland for westward opening-up, pressing ahead with the construction of the core area of the silk road economic belt and deepening economic and trade cooperation with all parties. Positive outcomes have been registered.
First, the efforts of opening-up were intensified along the silk road. From 2016 to 2021, the total volume of foreign trade in Xinjiang increased from 139.8 billion yuan to 156.9 billion yuan. Xinjiang gained an increasing number of trading partners in more than 170 countries and regions. From this January to May, the total foreign trade reached 67.41 billion yuan, a growth rate of 30.9 percent that was higher than that of 25.8 percent of the whole country. Among which, the volume of foreign trade from countries of the BRI and member states of RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) reached 61.06 and 4.3 billion yuan, an increase of 39.6 percent and 28.2 percent respectively. The trade structure continued to be optimized. More and more varieties of quality agricultural products from all over the world have been available for local residents, enriching their choices. From 2014 to 2021, a total of 5,666 China-Europe freight trains carrying more than 200 varieties of goods were on track from Xinjiang in 23 travel lines, reaching 26 cities of 19 Eurasian countries. An operation pattern featuring multiple points of departure, cities of operation and destinations took shape. Against the backdrop of COVID-19 pandemic in particular, the “iron camel caravan” has played an irreplaceable role in stabilizing the global industrial and supply chains, bringing tangible benefits for the people along the operating routes.
Second, the momentum of growth was stirred by maximizing our location advantages. As is known to all, Xinjiang covers a total area of 1,664,900 square kilometers, neighbouring eight countries. It has 20 state-approved ports for opening-up, including 17 inland ports and 3 air ports. Among which, Alashankou (Alataw Pass) and Horgos are inland ports incorporating functions of rail-way, highway and pipeline transportation at the same time, both of which have become the main ports for China-Europe freight trains to travel inbound and outbound in Xinjiang. Xinjiang has been pressing ahead with the shift to port economy from channel-based economy while expanding westward exportation with its ports serving the whole country. In 2021, the cross-border e-commerce volume reached 2.07 billion yuan in Xinjiang, up by 152.4 percent; while 2.12 billion yuan for the first half of this year, a year-on-year increase of 247.5 percent. Several cities including Urumqi and Kashgar have opened freight trains for cross-border e-commerce. The volume of B2B exports has already accounted for 70 percent of the cross-border e-commerce. This year so far has witnessed the operation of seven “digital freight trains”. Local businesses were supported to establish 13 overseas warehouses in countries including Hungary and Kazakhstan. It only cost 8-9 days for goods stored under the model of cross-border e-commerce free trade goods in stock for exportation in Horgos to be distributed to overseas warehouses in Europe, a delivery speed second only to air transport but at half cost of the latter.
Third, we forge a momentum by pursuing new ideas of development. In recent years, we have attracted lots of enterprises to invest in Xinjiang by optimizing our business environment and facilitating services. In 2021, Xinjiang (Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps included) utilized a foreign investment of 240 million yuan, a year-on-year increase of 9.5 percent. In January to May of 2022, seventeen enterprises with foreign investment were newly established, up by 41.67 percent year on year. Xinjiang has stepped up establishment of a host of opening platforms including economic and technological zones, comprehensive bonded areas and border economic cooperation areas, with increased capabilities of industry clustering and opening-up and cooperation. As of 2021, Xinjiang has cumulatively invested 6.4 billion USD for foreign and direct investment that covered 63 countries and regions. Now there are 657 non-financial investment enterprises and institutions. Covering 250 million square meters, all four foreign e-commerce cooperation areas have 225 enterprises registered in total with a gross output of 460 million USD, making positive contributions to the social development of their host countries.
Fourth, the level of opening-up was elevated through various cooperation vehicles. We continued to improve the economic and trade cooperative mechanisms with our neighbouring states and local governments, and worked to sign inter-local governmental conventions on economy and trade. As of now, Xinjiang has established regular inter-local governmental economic and trade mechanisms with seven countries and regions including Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan (East Kazakhstan state), Russia (Tuva Republic) and Pakistan, respectively. We stepped up efforts to facilitate trade investment by high-level visits with relevant countries, exhibitions, and industrial exchanges and inter-enterprise cooperation, to timely resolve the concerns and difficulties arising from economic and trade cooperation. Against the backdrop of the pandemic, we actively worked to innovate the approach to economic and trade cooperation. Since last year, 22 virtual negotiation events have been held with 18 countries and regions including Kazakhstan, Russia and Mongolia that involved more than 2000 enterprises at home and abroad, with 26 agreements signed. We seized the opportunity of high-level opening-up of RCEP, six virtual meetings on economic and trade cooperation were held covering all 14 member states of RCEP, a move to bolster our enterprises to expand international market. By giving full play to the role of China International Import Expo as a platform to boost investment, people-to-people exchange and opening-up and cooperation, we held a series of people-to-people exchange activities with Xinjing characteristics and the promotion activities of the core area of the silk road economic belt. The promotion conference themed “Xinjiang is a Wonderful Land” was held. Together, those events showcased to the world the latest progress Xinjiang has achieved and the broad prospect for investment.
Xu Guixiang: Thank you. Next, I will give the floor to Ms. Zhong Hehua, Deputy Director of Development Service Center, Urumqi International Land Port. She will brief you on Xinjiang's efforts in building international logistics hubs and providing China-Europe Railway Express services.
Zhong Hehua: As a landmark project in proceeding the construction of core area of the silk road economic belt, Urumqi International Land Port (UILP) kicked off its construction in the end of 2015, covering a total area of 67 square kilometers. By following the principle of collecting goods and improving infrastructure to gather industries, UILP is committed to developing itself into an international land logistics hub that connects Eurasia, an international supply chain organization center, a highland for attracting modern industries and an important functional area of China’s free trade pilot zone (Xinjiang).
UILP is an important hub that connects the East and the West, which boasts a railway network in most vicinity to the Central and West Asia and to Europe along China’s westward channel. It is equipped with a comprehensive and multilevel transportation network that incorporates international airport, high-speed railway, inter-city railway and multi-tiered highways.
In recent years, UILP has worked actively to expand its domestic and foreign logistics network, improved its role as a platform of opening-up, and strived to build a channel-based platform to boost trade and gather industries in clusters. Remarkable progress has been made with opening up in all aspects.
First, cooperation on logistics was strengthened. At present, UILP has been approved in succession as a national land port oriented logistics hub, a demonstration project of gathering center for China-Europe Railway Express, etc. We pressed ahead with the quality operation of China-Europe Railway Express. As of now, China-Europe Railway Express has made 5,900 trips, with 609 trips made from this January to June, a year-on-year increase of 36 percent. The varieties of goods shipped on those cargo trains were increasingly expanding, from daily necessities and clothing at the very beginning to more than 200 kinds of goods including machinery & equipment and water pipeline, heating and construction materials. There are a total of 21 travel routes in service reaching 26 cities of 19 Eurasia countries.With the location advantages of Xinjiang neighboring eight countries, we actively gave full play to the convenience of multi-modal transport highway customs supervision and free transshipment of goods, we have continuously served the international freight traffic in Central Asia. As of June 2022, a total of over 20,000 trucks of goods have been shipped for international highway freight transport. Of which, 10350 were shipped this January to June, up by approximately 6.8 folds year on year. We stepped up efforts to develop coordinated sea-railway transport, and strengthened cooperation with Tianjin Harbour and Shandong Harbour, where we set up UILP goods gathering centers. With the operation of East-West round trip for sea-railway freight trains, reaching the markets in Japan, Korea and the Southeast Asian countries, we worked to promote import and export of agricultural products including ketchup, exotic dried fruits, mechanical and electrical products as well as textile products. From this January to June, 272 sea-rail combined freight trains have been run in total.
Second, cooperation on trade was reinforced. By giving full play to the functions of China-Europe freight transport and multi-modal combined transport, UILP supported the development of export-oriented industries. We worked to strengthen the trade cooperation with the Central and West Asia and Europe by promoting exportation of steels, ketchup, PVC, caustic soda and characteristic agricultural and sideline products, as well as the import of mineral products, cooking oil, wheat, asphalt and paper pulp, etc. With the operation of New Land-Sea Corridor Operation Xinjiang Co., Ltd, we stepped up the exchanges with countries of BRI, with RCEP member states in particular to boost further opening up of Xinjiang. Since the beginning of this year, Hami melon cold chain freight trains from Turpan, Xinjiang to Thailand via Chongqing, testing freight trains for Xinjiang cold-chain agricultural and sideline products in combination with coals, as well as China-Europe cross-border trains for high-end electronic products heading Germany from Chongqing via Xinjiang were in service.
Third, logistics network was continuously improved for services at home and abroad. We cemented our cooperation with domestic logistics hubs such as Chongqing, Chengdu and Hefei, and supported enterprises to build overseas warehouses along the major juncture cities abroad. For instance, our cooperation with Chongqing resulted in a modern logistics operation system incorporating channels, ports, hubs and networks along the new land-sea channel. Xinjiang International Land Port Group was supported to cooperate with Chongqing International Logistics Hub Construction Co., Ltd to set up distribution stations and warehouses overseas, and to cooperate with Kazakhstan companies to speed up transshipment station in Dostyk.
Fourth, the publicity efforts were enhanced. We exploited the role of exhibitions to actively promote the land port, in a bid to help our enterprises seize possible orders and expand markets in line with the demand of import and export businesses. As of now, we have participated in more than 40 events of large exhibitions including CIIE and China-Eurasia Expo. By making use of promotion acclivities of domestic and foreign media, we have presented to the public what UILP has achieved and what progress Xinjiang has made in its social and economic development. We have hosted researchers in over 1,300 surveys that further expanded the influence of UILP in terms of external cooperation.
Dear friends, I believe that against the backdrop of stability and development in Xinjiang, UILP will continue to pursue the Silk Road spirits of mutual cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning, and mutual benefits and win-win outcomes, and intensify consultation, contribution and shared benefits with countries along the Silk Road Economic Belt. We will continuously improve the commercial logistics services, deepen external cooperation, engage ourselves in and serve more international cooperation projects and enhance international commercial intercourse. Here, we would like to extend our sincere invitations to friends all over the world to take a tour of Urumqi International Land Port to better advance cooperation and exchange for common development.
That's all for my introduction.Thank you.
Xu Guixiang: Just now, Ms. Zhong Hehua gave us an introduction of Urumqi International Land Port. Next, I will give the floor to Mr. Ma Haitao, Deputy Director of Kashgar Economic Development Zone Management Committee. He will brief you on the advantages and development of the zone.
Ma Haitao: As you can see, this is the main checkpoint of Kashgar Comprehensive Bonded Zone, with 20 lanes in total. On my left side is the one-stop service hall of Kashgar customs, where 40 customs officers handle all customs business in Kashgar region. On my right side is the place where enterprises are registered and the office of management committee. On the right, you can see a blue glass complex, which is a commercial facility with a construction area of 18,000 square meters. Here we carry out the exhibition and sales of cross-border e-commerce goods and the centralized office of cross-border e-commerce enterprises. In front of me are some container trucks and freight trucks waiting to exit after customs inspection. Kashgar comprehensive bonded zone started operating in designated area in 2014, and maintained a stable growth in the past two years. Next, let me introduce the advantages and development of Kashgar economic development zone.
Kashgar Economic Development Zone, established in 2010, is an important window for China’s open up to the West and the southern fulcrum of the core area of the Silk Road Economic Belt. It has a planned construction area of 50 square kilometers and focuses on the development of modern service industry and advanced manufacturing. In 2021, the gross domestic product was 5.08 billion yuan, the investment was 4.03 billion yuan, and the total trade volume was 8.6 billion yuan. There are more than 4,000 registered enterprises in the region, including 216 foreign trade enterprises. Efforts are being made to build Kashgar into an important center of economy, trade and logistics, finance as well as international economic and technological cooperation.
Kashgar economic development zone is the destination of choice for investment. It has good business environment, and enterprises can enjoy a series of favorable policies of the western development of China, special customs supervision areas, national economic development zones and so on.
Kashgar Economic Development Zone continues to deepen its opening to the outside world, focusing on strengthening cooperation with neighboring countries and regions. Based on the surrounding port resources, it vigorously develops railway, highway and air multi-modal transport, including the opening of all cargo routes from Kashgar to Islamabad, Lahore, Frankfurt and other cities. It opens highway and railway inter-modal transport of trains, trucks and flights from coastal cities in eastern China to Central Asia and South Asia through Kashgar, which is continuous expansion of logistics channels opening to the West.
Kashgar comprehensive bonded zone is an important platform for the opening-up of Kashgar Economic Development Zone, with a planned construction area of 3.56 square kilometers. It aims at export-oriented industries and processing and utilization of advantageous resources in surrounding countries, and vigorously develops bonded processing and bonded logistics. In the first five months of this year, the total trade volume reached 4.62 billion yuan, which strengthens its role of export-oriented economic development engine. In January, the Chinese government approved the establishment of China (Kashgar region) cross-border e-commerce comprehensive pilot zone, further injecting new vitality into Kashgar's export-oriented economic development.
Next, we will further strengthen the construction of productive infrastructure, optimize the business environment, and continue to reform and innovate. We will deepen economic and trade cooperation with Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan and other neighboring countries so as to provide a better environment for enterprises to invest and start businesses here.
We sincerely welcome all of you to visit Kashgar for sightseeing and investment. We will provide you with high-quality and efficient services!
Kashgar, the choice of future!
Xu Guixiang: Thank you for your introduction. Now we have better understanding of the basic situation, preferential policies and strategic plans of Kashgar Economic Development Zone. We believe the development zone will play a more important role in opening up to the west and international exchange and cooperation across the board. Next, I will invite Mr. Fan Zengxi, Deputy Director of Horgos Economic Development Zone via video link. He will brief us on the advantages and development of the zone.
Fan Zengxi: I am Fan Zengxi, deputy director of the management committee of Horgos Economic Development Zone. It’s a privilege to join you all in this virtual event. With this opportunity, I will introduce Horgos from four aspects.
First, geographic advantages. Situated in Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture in northern Xinjiang, China, Horgos is bounded by Kazakhstan on the northeast. The main route of the New Silk Road, a.k.a the New Eurasian Continental Bridge, which cuts through Xinjiang, links the port city of Lianyungang in China’s eastern Jiangsu province and Rotterdam of the Netherlands, the largest port in Europe, with over 30 countries being along the transcontinental corridor. Sitting in the geographic center of the Eurasia economic sphere, Horgos is 4,244 km from Lianyungang and 6,638 km from Rotterdam. It is a national top level land port of entry covering highway, railway, pipeline, optical cable, postal services. It was also one of the six land ports of entry nationwide listed as corridors of BRI.
Second, preferential policies. In 2021, Ministry of Finance and the General Administration of Taxation stipulated that, from January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2030, enterprises in the Horgos Special Economic Development Zone that fall within the scope of the preferential income tax catalogue for key industries in some areas of Xinjiang shall be exempted from enterprise income tax for five years since the first production and operation income. After the five-year exemption, enterprises are entitled to the exemption of local share of enterprise income tax from the sixth to the tenth year. In 2021, the people's government of Xinjiang placed Horgos in the region’s overall plan that include the Urumqi International Land Port Area, Kashgar and Horgos Economic Development Zones, the building of Xinjiang into a hub of commerce and trade, logistics, transportation, culture, science, education, medical service and regional financial service, and the economic belt based on the region’s ports of entry. In terms of financial policy, the China-Kazakhstan Horgos International Border Cooperation Center is the only pilot area nationwide for cross-border RMB business that provides off-shore RMB services to foreign banks, institutions, individuals as well as companies registered in the Chinese side of the cooperation center.
Third, advantages of the open platform. Horgos has rail terminals for international passenger and freight transportation that operate year round. Since 2022, 23 new train routes have been added to the cross-border freight service, making the total freight lines to 59, reaching 45 cities in 18 countries, such as Germany, Poland, Turkey, Russia, and so on. The product mix covers daily necessities, auto parts, mechanical and electrical products, and so on. In the five months into 2022, 2696 railway freight trains traveled through Horgos, up 8.3 percent over the same period last year, and the shipment volume reached 15.83 million tons, up 4.5 percent. Horgos is home to the top level land port that has the best infrastructure and customs clearance conditions in China’s northwest, with a clearance capacity of 3 million tons of goods and 5 million people. Freight shipment via Horgos land port enjoy speedy customs clearance and competitive transport cost.
Four, Advantages of business environment. Horgos has taken steps early on in attracting talent, investment, industrial park construction, and instituted the customs clearance service hours-railway port (24/7) highway port (12/7), and cooperation center (10/7). We will make every effort to elevate our services to a new height with the most streamlined formality, fewest links, lowest cost and highest efficiency.
With this opportunity, I sincerely welcome you to visit Horgos and invest and do business here.
Xu Guixiang: Thank you. Through your introduction, we have seen the vitality of Horgos Economic Development Zone. I hope Horgos EDZ can seize the opportunity and strive for greater development in opening up to the west. Next, we will invite Mr. Liu Chong, Deputy Director of Tacheng Port Management Committee via video link. He will brief us on the advantages and operation of Baktu Port.
Liu Chong: Located at the intersection of north and middle passages of the Silk Road Economic Belt, Baktu port in Tacheng, Xinjiang is an important window for economic trade and cultural exchanges among China, Central Asian countries like Kazakhstan and even European countries.
In 1992, Tacheng City was approved by the State Council as a border city for further opening up, and Baktu port was officially opened. In 1994, Baktu port was approved as the first-class port. In July 1995, the Baktu port was officially opened to third countries. In December 2020, Xinjiang Tacheng key opening up pilot zone was approved by the State Council.
In February 2020, the port was temporarily closed due to Covid-19. On November 5 2020, customs clearance was officially resumed. Since the resumption of cargo customs clearance, Baktu port has adhered to “closed-loop management and operation” in epidemic prevention and control through contactless clearance mode. The port-based economy restarted after Covid-19 induced pause, and flow of people and businesses quickly recovered.
Seizing the opportunity core area development of the Silk Road Economic Belt, Baktu port make use of the construction of Tacheng key opening up pilot zone to build on good business climate of quality service and efficient customs clearance. The port is vibrant in the trade pattern of “facilitating the trade of China and the whole world”. It boosts the transition from merely relying on geographical advantages to industry- and port-driven growth, which beefs up the export-oriented economy.
First, while ensure safety in epidemic prevention and control, we timely adjusted and optimized inspection and disinfection. Based on the previous procedures of customs clearance, we invested 180 million yuan this year to build areas for disinfection and goods moving as well as border gates renovation. We coordinate Covid-19 response, projects construction and customs clearance, and explore modes of moving goods and clearing customs. With fully resumption of import, we encourage enterprises to load goods on returning trip to improve the efficiency of customs clearance and steadily increase the volume of cargo clearance. From January to June in 2022, the total volume of trade cargo at Baktu port was 136,100 tons, and the trade value was 824 million US dollars, up by 50.71% and 21.82% respectively year on year, or up by 45.25% and 255.17% compared with 2019 when there was no Covid-19.
Second, Baktu port provides 24-hour on-demand customs clearance to import and export entities. We instituted the method of completing the whole process with one application and one-off submission of materials, which solves difficulties for enterprises effectively. With policies facilitating trade at the national and regional level, we fully support foreign trade enterprises. We strive to resume border trade between China and Kazakhstan. We explore and implement a fast-track mode that connect agricultural products with processing enterprises. Currently, import and export enterprises have increased from 7 to 139.
Third, the port is consolidating its platform building for opening up. It has formulated the Planing on the “Three Districts” Development of Xinjiang Tacheng Key Opening-up Pilot Zone, fully promoting the building of Xinjiang Tacheng free trade zone, Tacheng bonded zone and pilot zone of cross-border e-commerce. We strive to build a platform of trade, logistics, import and export processing industry and tourism. More efforts are put into foreign trade, agricultural products processing, Chinese medicine, and international trade and logistics. Up to now, 43 enterprises of various kinds have moved in with a total investment of 1.818 billion yuan. We will speed up the construction of Tacheng International Land Port Customs Monitoring Warehouse, bonded warehouse, border warehouse, international logistic park (the first phase), bulk agricultural product market (the first phase), import and export product processing park (the second phase) and cross border e-commerce base and so on. We will gradually build top level base nationwide covering warehouse, logistics, processing, transaction and agricultural R＆D.
We will step up investment promotion and speed up IT- and Smart construction. More efforts will be put in facilitating cross border trade with improved business environment and openness. All of these will contribute to Xinjiang’s high-quality economic development.
Xu Guixiang: Thank you for your introduction of the general situation and operation of Baktu Port. Through Baktu Port, we get to see the vitality in Xinjiang's opening up to the west. Next, I will invite Mr. Fang Zhong, Executive Vice President of Xinjiang Goldwind Sci & Tech Co., Ltd. via video link. He will brief us on the company's exploration of overseas market.
Fang Zhong: It is a privilege for me to introduce Goldwind’s history of development. The company was born in Xinjiang in 1998. Over the past 24 years, we specialized in four categories-energy development, energy equipment, energy services, and energy application, and stayed committed to becoming a trusted global partner for clean energy cooperation. We are thankful to the recognition from various sectors. The company was given the 2020 award of China Clean Energy Innovation, and the 2021 award for pacesetting enterprise in carbon neutrality, among others.
These are modules of our flagship products.
Our partners are from 32 countries across six continents. We have about 10 thousand employees worldwide, including nearly 3,000 R&D and technical personnel.
Looking back on the growth process, we have committed to driving high quality development of the company through scientific innovation. We have established eight R&D centers in Beijing, Jiangsu, Fujian provinces as well as Germany and Denmark, and carried out in-depth cooperation with renowned universities worldwide. With the support of diverse technological resources across the world, we have built up the key driving force for the development of advanced technology. So far, our company has applied for 5.6 thousand global patents and participated in the formulation of 31 international standards.
We believe the development of wind power is a marathon. Through technological progress and integration, we have promoted the performance of our products and provided stable, reliable and efficient wind turbines for global partners. First, we have developed medium speed and direct drive permanent magnet for wind turbines. Second, we have promoted industrial upgrading through digitization, built digitized, holistic solutions for wind farms, and provided inland and offshore turbines with full life cycle solutions, so as to increase the value of wind farms of our customers. Third, we have built zero-carbon solutions for new power system, optimized the source, grid, storage and load to create an innovative energy asset management model, so as to lower energy consumption and fully contribute to carbon neutrality for customers.
We have committed to green development. Our business has expanded to the internet of energy, environment protection and water treatment. The environment sector of Goldwind now has a sewage treatment capacity of 4.23 million tons per day, serving over 10 million people. As a responsible corporate citizen, we have worked with partners in the wind power supply chain since 2016 to push for green transition of the industry.
We have committed to providing blue sky and clear water for humanity and leaving more resources for the future. At present, Goldwind has provided the world with a total wind power installed capacity of over 86 gigawatts and 172 billion kilowatt-hour of green electricity per year, helping the world reducing 180 million tons of carbon dioxide.
We are looking forward to more extensive cooperation with global partners for global energy transition to ensure access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy for all. Thank you.
Xu Guixiang: Thank you for your introduction on Goldwind's opening up and international cooperation. We have also understood Goldwind's fulfilling of corporate social responsibilities as an open company. I wish Goldwind all the best in the opening up to the west. Next, I will invite Mr. Yu Chengzhong, Chairman of Horgos Jinyi International Trade Co., Ltd. via video link. He will brief us on how the company does trade and grows with the support of ports.
Yu Chengzhong: Good afternoon, everyone. My success was closely related to Horgos Port. Opening up to the outside world has brought me opportunities for development. I’d like to share with you my experience. In the 1990s, I saw the news of the opening up of Horgos Port to third countries, I thought there must be great potential here. After I came to Horgos Port, I began doing import and export trade of fruit and vegetables. At the beginning, it was difficult to do foreign trade. Most of the exported fruit was transported from southern part of China. The freight cost was high and it’s difficult to store. At that time, Horgos city has not yet been built, there was only one port. And the infrastructure was inadequate, so the loss of fruit and vegetables was huge. That period was the golden time of foreign trade, I followed the trend of the times and my business became prosperous.
In 2010, the central government decided to set up an economic development zone in Horgos. I was so excited to hear this news. I felt that the most critical point has come. In the same year, I established Jinyi International Trade Co. Ltd.
In 2013, our company’s 20,000 square meters of fruit and vegetable fresh-keeping storehouse was approved as the one under customs supervision, which provided us with great convenience. It could hold up to five tons of fruit and vegetables.
In 2014, Horgos city was established and it has entered a period of rapid development since. Infrastructure is improving, and supporting facilities including roads, hospitals and schools are increasingly complete. More and more people are settling down in Horgos and start their businesses. The business atmosphere in the city is a lot more inspiring.
In 2018, the southern joint inspection zone of Horgos, the sixth gateway was officially opened, and Western Europe - Western China highway was completed. The improvement of the port infrastructure had a far-reaching impact on enterprises. Through the Western Europe - Western China highway, the journey from Horgos to Almaty was shortened by two hours. Fast track customs clearance for agricultural products further enhanced the international competitiveness of local enterprises.
In recent years, our company has developed with the city, its scale and products have expanded as well. As a leading company of agricultural industrialization in Xinjiang, based on the fruit and vegetable fresh-keeping storehouse, processing workshops and the production base of 10,000 hectares, we have formed an operation mode of leading by the international market, and connecting enterprises with the farmers. We provide 2,000 employment every year and more than 600 jobs a day. We consolidate and expand the achievements made in poverty alleviation in coordination with the extensive drive for rural revitalization in Horgos City.
Now, the company still exports about 100 tons of fruit and vegetables every day. Last June, Jinyi Cultural Tourism Complex invested by the company was officially opened, which was a cultural tourism project integrating hotel, catering, sightseeing agriculture and so on. The company also built a processing plant for agricultural products, which can process fruit juice and canned food, thus further expanded the capacity of consuming local fruit and increased the added value of our products.
Facts have proved that there are many opportunities to start business at the port, and my decision was correct. Last year, our company exported nearly 200,000 tons of goods, fruit and vegetables. The export volume reached 2 billion US dollars, the main exporting destinations are the five Central Asian countries and Russia. From January to May this year, the company exported more than 30,000 tons of goods with a trade volume of 360 million US dollars. We started the cross-border e-commerce this year, exporting to central Asian and European countries through the highway port and the China-Europe Railway Express.
The development of our company is closely related to the national policies. I believe that with the advancement of the the Silk Road Economic Belt, we will seize the opportunities, actively conduct international exchanges and cooperation to promote the development of our company. We believe that Horgos will embrace a brighter future, and our company will enjoy more splendid chapters of development.
Xu Guixiang: Thank you for your introduction. From what you talked about, we get to know Jinyi's development since reform and opening up. In particular, you chose to start up your business in northwest China's Horgos and have achieved progress like today's. We are truly happy for you. Hope Jinyi can seize the opportunity of China's opening up to the west, capitalize on various preferential policies, and score even greater achievement in international exchange and cooperation.
Xu Guixiang: Just now, eight representatives from the business community of Xinjiang have talked about the strategic planning, policy measures, remarkable achievements and development prospects in Xinjiang's open cooperation. I hope you have better understanding in Xinjiang's position as the frontier of China's westward opening up and core region of the Silk Road Economic Belt. Next, I would like to have an exchange with friends from the media. Please feel free to raise questions.
Photo taken on July 12, 2022 shows the 77th Press Conference on Xinjiang-related Issues by Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in Beijing. Photo by Xinjiang Daily/Zheng Zhuo
MASTV: Last week, the Helena Kennedy Center of Sheffield Harlem University in the United Kingdom issued four reports on Xinjiang in succession, fabricating lies about the so-called "forced labor" in Xinjiang, but it was later proved to be an organized and purposeful lie. I would like to ask whether the Xinjiang has seen this report and what is your response?
Xu Guixiang: We’ve read such a report a lot. We feel that it’s a waste of my time after reading it. First, the facts are incorrect. They have never been to Xinjiang and don’t understand the real situation of employment in Xinjiang. They carried out so-called research merely on the basis of rumors and lies, which is not academic, let alone being science-based.
Second, the motive is not pure. It is understood that the drafters of the report and the financial sponsors of the center are no different from terrorist forces and have become accomplices of terrorists, and the reports produced by such people have no credibility. Third, the impact is not great. The international community has become more and more aware of the real situation in Xinjiang, and more and more people don’t believe the lies woven by anti-China elements, and many people of insight have made positive comments on the employment situation in Xinjiang. Recently, I also noticed that German Volkswagen Group CEO Dr. Herbert Diess made it clear, "We can ensure that the Volkswagen factory in Xinjiang does not have forced labour." I believe the international community can see trough the hidden agenda of some western think tanks and don’t be fooled by them.
MASTV: The Executive Director of the International Energy Agency said recently that in 2021, China was home to 79% of the global manufacturing capacity for polysilicon. A full 42% of that is located in Xinjiang. This level of concentration in the global supply chain represents “a considerable vulnerability”. Governments should take necessary measures to diversify their supply chains. What is the comment from the Xinjiang side? Could you please brief us on the development of polysilicon and photovoltaic (PV) industry in Xinjiang? How is it affected by the US sanctions?
Xu Guixiang: First of all, we believe the concentration of PV manufacturing capacity is the result of resource distribution, technological differences and market drivers. It is a normal phenomenon in the development of global PV industry, and a norm in many other industries. The current vulnerability in the global PV industrial and supply chains does not stem from the so-called "concentration", but the so-called Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act adopted by the US and its malicious suppression on China's PV industry. Such move is seriously against the law of the market and WTO rules and detrimental to the international trade order, global PV cooperation and development, and the stability of global PV industrial and supply chains. Such an impact will not only harm global PV industry, but also the interests of American companies.
As we know, polysilicon manufacturing is not labor-intensive, but technology and capital-intensive. I have visited some PV companies, and here's what I have learned. Now, PV companies in Xinjiang have already reached world-class standard, with a high level of automation and digitization as well as extensive use of 5G technology. Most procedures in the factories are done by computers, which does not require large deal of manual operation. For instance, the manager of one company told me that with the introduction of automated facilities, the amount of manpower required in the crashing and packaging processes has dropped by 50 percent compared to that of 10 years ago.
In recent years, a few journalists have visited polysilicon manufacturing bases, and have made a lot of reports. It should be noted that PV companies are registered and run in accordance with laws and regulations. They have all along fulfilled their social responsibilities and followed business ethics and codes. The companies have ensured ethnic minority employees can enjoy equal employment free from discrimination and freedom of movement. The income of employees at polysilicon companies is higher than local average. Employees are also provided with paid annual leave, family leave, end-of-year rewards and many other kinds of welfare. They are generally satisfied with their income and welfare.
It should be pointed out that there is no such thing as "forced labor" in Xinjiang's PV companies. To promote the development of renewables, including PV, and to advance energy revolution has become a common understanding of the international community. To further exchanges and cooperation for win-win results is also a historical trend, which will not be held back by any malicious sanction. In 2021, the production of PV-based new materials in Xinjiang reached 469,400 tons, up by 30.9 percent. On the sanctions against or even "elimination" of Xinjiang's PV industry, go ask the world's PV market and in particular American companies and see if they agree.
Macao Monthly: Please brief us on Xinjiang’s international exchange and cooperation in higher education, and how many international students have come to Xinjiang for employment and development in recent years?
Xu Guixiang: Xinjiang conducts exchange and cooperation with outside world in various fields. Today, I mainly introduce to you the cooperation in the economic field. In fact, Xinjiang has very extensive exchanges and cooperation in education, science and technology, medical care, transportation, and so on. I will introduce more to you in the future.
With regard to international educational exchange and cooperation, we will continue to encourage government sponsored overseas study. Since 2016, the educational system has sent a total of 338 students to 22 countries, including the United States, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Japan and Canada.
The second is to actively implement the plan of "Studying in Xinjiang, China". We organized and implemented Chinese government scholarships, government scholarships of the autonomous regions for students from neighboring countries to study in China, and scholarships from the overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council to study in China. Since 2016, seven colleges and universities in our region have trained nearly 20,000 foreign students.
Third, constantly enrich and expand cooperative educational programs between Xinjiang and other countries. Up to now, there are 7 such projects in Xinjiang, including 2 for undergraduate education and 5 for junior college courses, covering transportation, construction and engineering and technology, electrical automation technology, among others. Since 2016, a total of 1,261 students have enrolled in these programs, 741 of them are still studying.
Fourth, steadily promote international exchange and cooperation. The autonomous region has successively established the China-Russia-Kazakhstan-Mongolia Altai Regional University Presidents' Federation, the Novosibirsk-Xinjiang Russian language Center, the Cultural Exchange Base for University students of China and Central Asian countries, the China-Central Asian University Presidents’ Union, the Silk Road Eurasian Colleges (Vocational Education) Union and other international exchange platforms. They held a series of academic research activities. It has also achieved exchanges and cooperation in more areas, on multiple levels, and in greater depth.
If there are no more questions, the press conference now ends. Thank you for joining us.