Economic and Trade Information

Improved railway helps to boost regional connectivity


Improved railway infrastructure between China and Kazakhstan has played a major role in the increased frequency of China-Europe freight train services, which has served to beef up regional connectivity and promote the Belt and Road Initiative.

There are three main routes and five border stations for China-Europe freight trains in western, central and eastern China. Two of theseon the western routeenter Kazakhstan from the Alataw Pass and Horgos Port stations in China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

To meet the growing demand for China-Europe freight train services, China carried out infrastructure upgrading to expand the capacity at these border stations.

Last year, more lines were built at Horgos for reload containers, enabling the station to handle the reloading of an additional three to four trains each day.

As a result, a total of 2,710 trains passed through Horgos last year, a year-on-year increase of 32.8 percent, according to the China-Europe Freight Train Development Report in 2021.

An expansion project has also been carried out at the Alataw Pass border station.

This year, the average daily traffic volume of China-Europe freight trains passing through these two stations increased by 20.7 percent compared with the figure in 2020, before the capacity expansion and renovation projects, according to China State Railway Group.

Capacity expansion also took place at Dostyk, the station on the Kazakh side of the border. A new reloading yard was put into operation last year with a designed capacity to reload 160,000 containers annually.

By May, the yard had been expanded to be able to handle 320,000 containers a year.

The report added that thanks to the China-Europe freight train services, Kazakhstan, which is the world's largest landlocked country, can easily access sea ports in China to send wheat to Southeast Asian markets.

It added that these freight train services open up a new channel for inland areas of Asia and Europe, helping them to better integrate into the global economy.

As of Aug 21, 10,000 freight trains had traveled between China and Europe, carrying 972,000 twenty-foot equivalent units of goods

SourceChina Daily | 2022-09-15


China-CEEC cooperation cannot be undermined


The Baltic states of Estonia and Latvia announced their exit from the China-Central and Eastern European Countries cooperation mechanism after working under the framework for 10 years to strengthen economic connectivity between China and Europe.

The exits of Estonia and Latvia come at a time when the global military-political situation is unstable, and the United States, and to some extent the European Union, have been desperately trying to undermine China's economy, and challenge its sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as its strategic position in the Asia-Pacific region.

It's always sad to see a country leave a multilateral mechanism after years of good cooperation. Yet the two Baltic states' decision to withdraw will not harm the overall China-CEEC cooperation mechanism. In fact, the exit of Estonia and Latvia can be used as an opportunity to accelerate the fusion of the China-CEEC mechanism with the Belt and Road Initiative and continue the process to boost economic globalization.

The announcements by Estonia and Latvia come after Lithuania's decision last year to withdraw from the cooperation mechanism. But since the Lithuanian government's decision was not supported by the Lithuanian people, that fact has made that exit diplomacy to look like an empty shell. A survey, conducted by a private company on behalf of the Lithuanian foreign ministry in December 2021, showed that almost 60 percent of the country's people opposed Lithuania's policy toward China.

The China-CEEC was launched as a new generation model of cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European countries with emphasis on digital and green investment and multilateralism in a bid to diminish the role of geopolitics in international relations and promote economic interdependence among partner countries.

In its 10 years, the China-CEEC framework has successfully developed significant economic and academic relations among the partner countries, and helped upgrade ties between many European countries (Serbia, Hungary, Poland, Greece and Croatia) and China.

That's why it is surprising that Estonia and Latvia said they would "continue to strive for constructive and pragmatic relations with China both bilaterally and multilaterally" after announcing their exit, because the two countries have improved their ties with China precisely because of the China-CEEC cooperation mechanism. It is surprising also because their decisions are likely to damage their political and economic relations with Beijing.

The two countries have tried to explain the reason for their withdrawal, claiming the China-CEEC mechanism has not fulfilled the goals it had set. Yet they never complained about it at any of the high-level China-CEEC meetings or never said China-CEEC cooperation was not based on mutual benefit or didn't follow international laws and rules.

From 2014 to 2022, the China-CEEC cooperation mechanism has functioned according to European Union rules, standards and procedures, and has been praised by EU member and candidate countries for doing so.

The discourse of diplomacy is based on equivocation and phrases, but the Baltic states' narrative cannot hide the fact that their main target is not China-CEEC cooperation. Instead, they hope their decisions will have a domino effect, which they could present as an offering at the altar of anti-China politics built by the US.

If we analyze the exit policies of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in light of the current geopolitical situation, we can see the three countries are ready to risk their relations with China as they believe the big moment of geopolitical alignment has come and they want to be seen in the anti-China group.

They have turned a blind eye to the fact that the US, given its geostrategic history, has never had a partner it didn't abandon to safeguard its own interests and push forward its own geopolitical strategy.

Although the exit of Estonia and Latvia will not undermine the China-CEEC mechanism's vitality, it will affect the two Baltic states' direct exports to China and other countries in the Asia-Pacific, because other countries will soon replace them.

As for Beijing lowering its political and trade relations with Lithuania, it has done so not because of the Baltic state's exit from the China-CEEC mechanism but because Lithuania opened a "Taiwan representative office" in Vilnius and appointed a new "envoy" to Taiwan, thus crossing Beijing's redline. In every aspect it was a reckless and provocative move.

The EU has responded to the threat to China's sovereignty and territorial integrity as if it is only about economic issues, and accused China of discriminatory practices against Lithuania at the World Trade Organization, exposing its aggressive policy toward Beijing.

The willingness of leading European countries to help protect the US' interests and to harm its own is disappointing. While the EU appears confused and desperate, the US has demonstrated its power to prevent the EU from helping build a truly multipolar world order together with China and other countries.

It is not difficult to see that the Baltic states' moves are related to the US' strategy of hollowing out the one-China principle. Washington has been provoking Beijing on the Taiwan question in the hope that Beijing uses military means to reunify Taiwan with the motherland so it can use it to isolate Beijing from the international community and decouple the Chinese economy from the global economy and thus check its rise.

Perhaps the Baltic countries are among the first to play the role of new European warriors in the US' scheme of things to contain China's rise.

But we hope it is not too late to say that following the US' China policy is harmful to the stability, peace and prosperity of Europe. For it will make Europe politically and economically weaker, not stronger.

SourceChina Daily | 2022-08-31


Cooperation between China, Central and Eastern Europe bears fruit


Cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs) has become closer in multiple areas, including trade and investment, the promotion of China-Europe freight trains and project agreements.

The following are some highlights of economic and trade cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European countries.

China's total trade volume with 17 CEECs reached 103.45 billion U.S. dollars in 2020, crossing the 100-billion-dollar mark for the first time, data from the Ministry of Commerce shows.

This marked a year-on-year increase of 8.4 percent, higher than the growth rate of China's foreign trade and its trade with Europe as a whole.

Logging an average annual growth rate of 8 percent from 2012, the growth of China's trade with CEECs is three times the growth of its foreign trade and two times the growth of its trade with Europe as a whole.

China's foreign direct investment in the economic sectors of 17 CEECs, including energy, infrastructure, logistics and automobile parts, totaled 3.14 billion dollars by the end of 2020.

The 17 countries invested 1.72 billion dollars in China during the period.

The China-Europe freight train service saw some 12,400 train trips throughout 2020, with key passages and destinations including Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic.

Last year, the total contract value of China's newly signed overseas projects with the 17 countries spiked 34.6 percent to 5.41 billion dollars.

 Source: Xinhua | 2021-02-09 


China Focus: China, Central and Eastern Europe see growing effective cooperation


Dai Mingyou owns a home furniture manufacturing company in Fuyang, east China's Anhui Province. With the Spring Festival holiday approaching, Dai's staff are working around the clock to deliver a pile of export orders, mainly from the central and east European countries (CEECs).

"Germany used to be the major export destination of our products, but now countries in central and eastern Europe such as Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia account for half of our exports," said Dai.

Established in 2013, Dai's company has grown steadily by producing and selling exquisite wood and rattan furniture. Its exports reached 20 million U.S. dollars in 2020, with one-fifth of its exports being sold to Poland.

"Our first deal with a Polish client encountered some twists and turns, yet both sides showed sincerity and honesty in solving problems," recalled Dai.

After that, Dai and his Polish counterpart became buddies. The number of his Polish clients has grown to 20, and he has developed a Polish branch for his company, which will start operating as soon as COVID-19 is under control there, he said.

The cooperation between Anhui and CEECs has been increasing in recent years, with six friendly inter-provincial relations established between the two sides, according to the provincial government. This trend has also been seen in other parts of China.

Despite the COVID-19-induced economic depression in most of the world, total trade between China and CEECs was up 8.4 percent in 2020 to hit 103.45 billion U.S. dollars, crossing the 100-billion-dollar mark for the first time, according to data from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.

Since the establishment of the cooperation mechanism between the two sides in 2012, China's direct investment in 17 CEECs totaled 3.14 billion dollars by the end of 2020, covering energy, infrastructure, logistics, automobile parts and other sectors.

Meanwhile, the 17 countries invested 1.72 billion dollars in China during the period.

The ministry's data also shows that the China-Europe freight train service saw some 12,400 train trips throughout 2020, with key passages and destinations including Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Lithuania and Slovakia.

The freight train service has become the lifeline of anti-epidemic response and the supply line of the Belt and Road Initiative, as well as built a road of friendship and prosperity between China and CEECs, Lin Songtian, president of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, remarked at the fifth China-CEECs local leaders' meeting held on Feb. 5 in Shenyang, capital of northeastern China's Liaoning Province, via video link.

Through the service, Bulgaria's yogurt, Poland's milk, Hungarian wine and Greek olive oil arrived in various parts of China to enrich Chinese people's dining tables, said Lin.

According to Lin, China and CEECs have established 212 pairs of friendly provincial and municipal relations, which have promoted cooperation in various fields and enhanced mutual understanding and friendship between people.

The encouraging achievements in cooperation speak volumes about the huge potential of complementarity between the two sides, said Huo Yuzhen, China's special representative of China-CEECs Cooperation.

Liu Ning, the governor of Liaoning Province, said at the meeting that sea-rail cargo routes linking Liaoning and Europe pass through 12 cities in five countries in central and eastern Europe, and the province's trade volume with 17 CEECs hit 2.89 billion dollars in 2020.

Croatia's Zadar County and China's Hainan Province signed an agreement to establish friendly relations in December 2019. Zadar County Prefect Bozidar Longin said via a video link that Zadar County actively supports the Belt and Road Initiative.

The China-CEECs cooperation mechanism provides a solid foundation for the local governments of the two countries to realize regional economic development, enabling the two sides to carry out specific cooperation projects by sharing knowledge and experience, he added. Enditem

Source: Xinhua | 2021-02-08

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