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Border towns witness China-Mongolia trade boom

(Xinhua)

11:02, August 20, 2011

HOHHOT, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- The booming China-Mongolia border trade has given Erenhot, a Gobi town in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, a more important regional status, as it's poised to host the China-Mongolia-Russia Economic and Trade Cooperation Fair at the end of the month.

The organizing committee said on Friday that over 200 firms from the three countries have registered to take part in the fair slated from Aug. 26 to 30, which will feature exhibits ranging from home appliances, construction and decoration materials to heavy machinery.

The city, with a population of 100,000, sits on the China-Mongolia-Russia railway and serves as China's largest land customs station with the Republic of Mongolia.

Bayaermen, a Mongolian businessman, has been doing business in Erenhot for six years and has thrived in the lucrative trade market.

"Three years ago, I was driving my jeep to Ulan Bator to trade small, China-made commodities, but eventually I shifted the business focus to construction materials, thanks to the regional development of the railway infrastructure," he said.

He said as the economic growth gathers speed, Mongolia's demand for China's construction materials increases.

Since 1998, China has been Ulan Bator's top trade partner and its largest source of foreign investment. Bilateral trade between the two countries jumped by 64 percent year-on-year to 3.9 billion U.S. dollars last year.

Erenhot isn't the only border town that has benefitted. Among a dozen other land ports on China's border with Mongolia, Ganqimaodu in Bayan Nur City has also witnessed fast urbanization, as it shifted from a small town to a bustling logistics distribution center in the past four years, mainly thanks to coal imports from Mongolia.

Trade via Ganqimaodu soared by 85.6 percent year-on-year in the first half year to 600 million U.S. dollars.

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