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China Focus: China to open its doors wider

(Xinhua)    18:36, March 05, 2015

BEIJING, March 5  -- For car salesman Yuan Fengli in central China's Henan Province, business is better than ever since the price of imported Land Rovers from Europe dropped 50,000 yuan (7,995 U.S.dollars), than six months ago.

The price drop is a direct result of the 10,214 kilometer Zhengzhou-Europe International Shuttle Train, which leaves China at the Alataw Pass, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, before passing through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus and Poland on its way to Hamburg, Germany.

The line, which sees trains arrive in Europe 15 days after leaving China, has become a popular alternative to slower and riskier sea freight.

Christopher Shea, a British businessman who exports office supplies from Zhengzhou to Europe, said the line had the potential to help Zhengzhou become the production and distribution center of choice for many European companies.

In the eyes of Yu Xin'an, head of the Henan Academy of Social Sciences, the boom of international logistics in Zhengzhou reflects the opening up of inland areas, thanks to the "Belt and Road" initiatives.

In his government work report, delivered on Thursday, Premier Li Keqiangsaid: "Opening up is itself reform."

China must continue with its opening up policy, expedite measures to build an accessible economy, and maintain development and competitive momentum, he said.

Li said that China will work with the countries linked by the initiatives in developing the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

"We will move faster to strengthen infrastructure connectivity with our neighbors, simplify customs clearance procedures, and build international logistics gateways," he said.

The Belt and Road initiatives were proposed by President Xi Jinpingin 2013, to improve cooperation between countries in Asia, Europe and Africa.

Zhao Jinping, from the State Council's Development Research Center, said that connectivity was a key aspect of the initiatives.

Improved transportation links between China and Europe will meet the needs of the rising domestic economy, as the country witnesses an industrial transfer from the advanced east to its landlocked interiors, with ever more multinational companies opening branches in its central and western areas.

This emergent inland internationalized economy underscores the need for further opening up and the cementing of closer connections with foreign countries, he said.

This is also reflected by inland provinces applying to establish free trade zones.

Following the success of the Shanghai Free Trade Zone (FTZ), the State Council approved FTZ for Tianjin Municipality and the provinces of Guangdong and Fujian last December.

Some inland provinces such as Henan, Shaanxi, and Gansu are also applying to build FTZ.

Yu said FTZ should be given the responsibility of exploring fair international trade and investment rules, which would better promote China's opening up to the world.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Zhang Yuan,Bianji)

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