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RCEP a catalyst for opening up in SW China's Guangxi

By Xian Jiangnan (People's Daily Online)    18:07, November 20, 2019

Yang Chunting, Director of the Investment Promotion Bureau of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, receives an interview with People's Daily Online. (Photo/Wang Hui)

A group of 15 Asia-Pacific countries completed the text-based negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) recently, marking a breakthrough in the development of the world's largest free trade area, and putting Guangxi on the map as a gateway between China and ASEAN countries.

"Guangxi, as a window to ASEAN, has ushered in a new round of opening up and development, and will play a more crucial role in China's opening up," Yang Chunting, Director of the Investment Promotion Bureau of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, said in an exclusive interview with People's Daily Online.

Guangxi is the only region in China with land and sea access to ASEAN countries and the only western area with a sea gateway. Yang noted that ASEAN is Guangxi's second-largest source of foreign investment. By this September, Guangxi introduced a total of 643 enterprises from 10 ASEAN countries and utilized $2.4 billion of foreign investment from the 10-countries bloc, signifying the great potential for further investment cooperation between Guangxi and ASEAN.

With the establishment of a vast array of high-level platforms, Guangxi has become a strategic point on the map for the open development of Southwest China and an essential gateway of the Belt and Road Initiative.

Referring to the China (Guangxi) Pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ), Yang said that the pilot FTZ highlights the land-sea transportation connection and will step up cooperation with the ASEAN region. "The pilot FTZ is a platform for Guangxi to attract investment and better undertake domestic and foreign industrial transfer," Yang added.

Attracting investment has been a vital engine for Guangxi's development. Statistics show that from January to October, the region's investment reached 690.2 billion yuan, up 7 percent from the previous year. In the first three quarters, Guangxi utilized foreign investment of $752 million (including foreign investment companies), with a year-on-year growth of 115 percent, ranking second in China in terms of growth rate and fourth in the total amount in Western China.

The high growth rate is attributed to the region's targeted investment, focusing on the three major areas of health, big data, and logistics, and the three fields of new manufacturing, new materials, and new energy. It is expected that investment in emerging industries will account for 30 percent of the total investment this year.

When talking about the preferential policies for foreign-invested enterprises in Guangxi, Yang said that Guangxi has the largest incentive program in China, with a maximum reward of 100 million yuan ($14.2 million) for foreign-invested enterprises. Incentive requirements are currently the loosest in China, and all industries excluded in the negative list can apply.

According to Yang, Guangxi has been nurturing a high-quality international business environment. The seven key assessment indicators of its business environment meet the standards set by the World Bank. Data shows that satisfaction with Guangxi's business environment among enterprises based in the area increased by 16 percent in 2019 over the previous year, and more than 90 percent of enterprises think Guangxi's business environment has improved.

Guangxi, with open arms, boasts unlimited business opportunities, added Yang. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Web editor: Xian Jiangnan, Bianji)

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