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Increasing trade cooperation between Chinese and Kazakhstani businesspeople

At the highway port, vehicles loaded with fruits, vegetables, groceries, and various goods exit the country in an orderly manner day and night. At the railway port, trains carrying electronic products, clothing, and goods manufactured in China dash towards destinations worldwide.

In Horgos, a border city, cross-border trade happens every day.

Kazakh businessman Ilyas entered China from the Horgos Port, and went to his office at Jinyi International Trade (Group) Co., Ltd.

"I haven’t seen you for a long time; how have you been?" Ilyas greeted Yu Xiangli, the deputy general manager of Jinyi International Trade (Group) Co., Ltd. Meanwhile, the general manager, Yu Chengzhong, Yu Xiangli’s elder brother, is on a business trip to Russia and Central Asia. Yu Xiangli is hosting this longtime partner on behalf of her brother.

Yu Xiangli showed Ilyas around the goods yard, "These are the fruits that are about to be sent to the Central Asian market today. Peaches are the main fruit of this season."

Ilyas is mainly responsible for distributing agricultural products for Jinyi International Trade (Group) Co., Ltd. in Central Asia. "Chinese fruits and vegetables are very popular in Central Asia, with a wide variety, reasonable prices, and freshness," he explained.

Horgos is one of the main ports for exporting fruits and vegetables from Xinjiang. From January to April, the port exported 153,000 tons of fruits and vegetables, with a more than fivefold increase in freight volume compared to the previous year, and one-third of this export was from Jinyi International Trade (Group) Co., Ltd. "This year, the company has been exporting an average of about 500 tons of fruits and vegetables per day in the first four months," Yu Xiangli said proudly.

Under the Belt and Road Initiative, Horgos has taken full advantage of its geographical location and policy benefits. A group of foreign trade companies, including Jinyi International Trade (Group) Co., Ltd., has rapidly emerged.

Efficiency is the key to foreign trade companies. According to Yu Xiangli, at the past, it took two to three days for goods to go through customs clearance procedure and reach Central Asian countries. Now, with the opening of the sixth generation of the state gate in Horgos City, it just costs five hours to go through the customs clearance procedure.

This year, the trial operation of fast-track customs clearance model for agricultural products exports in Horgos, has cut the the customs clearance procedures for Sino-Kazakh agricultural by-products from 12 to 4, saving over 40 percent of the clearance time.

“The ‘green channel’ for efficient customs clearance of agricultural by-products allows our goods to hit the market fresh.” According to Yu Xiangli, "Now it only takes four and a half hours from Horgos Port to Almaty, Kazakhstan. And our cost of manpower and material also reduce significantly."

Besides fruits and vegetables, the "highway port + local direct access" model in Horgos has been included in the key tasks of the China (Xinjiang) Pilot Free Trade Zone. And the export efficiency of Horgos Port will be significantly improved.

"I am planning to establish an overseas warehouse with Yu in Almaty, making it the largest fruits and vegetables market in Central Asia." Ilyas was excited.

Ilyas is very optimistic about the Chinese market. Apart from cooperating with Yu, he has expanded his business scale in Guangdong Province, aiming to bring back more products labled "manufactured in China" to Central Asia.

Under the Belt and Road Initiative, the business scale of Jinyi International Trade (Group) Co., Ltd. has been growing rapidly. In 2023, the group's trade volume exceeded 10 billion yuan (about 137.5 million U.S. dollars), reaching a historic high.

From a peddler to a manager of a foreign trade company, Yu Chengzhong's success epitomizes China's ongoing efforts to expand its opening-up. "Over the past decade, I have been a witness and a beneficiary," he said.

The story of the China-Kazakhstan partnership continues, with aspirations to join hands through the next decade.

(People's Daily, Reporters: Zhao Qiang, Liu Hui, Yang Rui, Liu Jieyan, Shi Lifeng, Liu Ning, Li Xinyang)