Pan-Beibu Gulf members ink port agreements to develop logistics network

16:34, August 13, 2010      

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Port companies from China and Southeast Asian countries inked agreements to strengthen cooperation at the fifth Pan-Beibu Gulf (PBG) Economic Cooperation Forum which closed here on Friday, as part of the efforts to construct the PBG logistics network.

These agreements, signed by Guangxi Beibu Gulf International Port Group with Haikou Port, Guangzhou Port Group, China Shipping Container Lines Co., Ltd, Singapore's IMC Shipping Services, Yulang Port, Thailand-listed Regional Container Lines (RCL) and Cambodia's Sihanoukville Port, aimed to promote cooperation by launching new routes, boosting port storage and cargo transportation facilities.

The government of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region planned to earmark 6 billion yuan (886 million U.S. dollars) this year to support 26 port construction projects in the region, said Pan Wei, director-general of the Guangxi Communications Department at the Forum.

By the end of 2012, the Beibu Gulf port throughput is set to exceed 300 million tonnes, which is three times more than that in 2009, Pan said.

The robust international trade and investment development within the PBG Economic Cooperation Zone has overwhelmed the current logistics system in the region, said Li Shaode, president of China Shipping Group.

The trade volume between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) reached 136.5 billion U.S. dollars in the first half of the year, up by 55 percent year on year, making the ASEAN China's fourth biggest trading partner, said Yi Xiaozhun, vice minister of commerce, while speaking at the Forum.

ASEAN's actual annual investment in China grew from 2.9 billion U.S. dollars in 2003 to 4.7 billion U.S. dollars in 2009. During the same period, China's investment in ASEAN registered a 13-fold increase from 230 million U.S. dollars to 3 billion U.S. dollars.

With the opening of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (CAFTA) on Jan. 1, more than 90 percent, or over 7,000 products traded between China and the six members of ASEAN, including Brunei, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore, have become tariff-free.

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