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Guangzhou playing key role in BRI construction

By YUAN SHENGGAO | China Daily | Updated:2023-06-02

Guangzhou, a port city of South China's Guangdong province, has been a proactive contributor to the Belt and Road Initiative for the past decade.

Since 2015, the city has efficiently carried out three-year action plans to do its bit for the initiative.

"The city has successively implemented three rounds of three-year action plans, promoting policy communication, infrastructure construction and connectivity, trade facilitation, financial integration and people-to-people exchanges with BRI countries and regions," said Hong Qian, head of the Guangzhou commerce bureau.

According to the bureau, Guangzhou has established friendships with 68 cities in 52 BRI countries and regions, and its Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation, which serves as a platform for global participants to learn about and share their best practices on sustainable development, has attracted 205 BRI cities.

By leveraging its transportation network, the city has also facilitated infrastructure construction. The route network of Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport currently connects to 208 destinations globally, including 51 international and regional passenger routes. This has created a four-hour aviation traffic circle linking major domestic and Southeast Asian cities and a 12-hour aviation traffic circle connecting major cities worldwide.

Over the past 10 years, the airport's cumulative passenger throughput has reached approximately 541.53 million, while the cumulative cargo and mail throughput has reached approximately 17.26 million metric tons.

Since 2013, the number of container shipping routes at Guangzhou Port has increased from 81 to 202 — a growth rate of 149.4 percent — while the number of BRI shipping routes has increased from 39 to 129, a growth rate of 230.8 percent.

Since being launched in 2016, the city's China-Europe freight train services have connected more than 30 cities in over 20 countries and regions in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, West Asia, Central Asia and Southeast Asia. In 2022, the number of the rail freight operations hit 656, up 2.4 times year-on-year.

Last year, Guangzhou was approved by the State Council to carry out a comprehensive pilot program for expanding the service industry's opening-up.

Official data showed, paid-in investment from 64 BRI countries and regions in Guangzhou achieved $210 million in 2022, a year-on-year increase of 6.2 percent. Between 2013 and 2022, a total of 4,812 businesses from those 64 countries and regions invested in Guangzhou, with contracted foreign investment totaling $5.09 billion and paid-in foreign investment of $2.48 billion.

The city has also achieved remarkable success with cultural exchanges, hosting events and mobilizing resources. For example, its branded Maritime Silk Road cultural activities have been held in 20 BRI countries and regions, and the Alliance of Guangzhou International Friendship City Universities has developed 19 member universities from around the world, covering 17 major cities.

As this year marks the 10th anniversary of Guangzhou's participation in the BRI, the city will continue to implement high-quality work to make new contributions to BRI construction, said Hong. These efforts will include piloting innovation in trade and services, promoting higher-level opening-up and securing the investment and benefits of local businesses in their overseas development.

Guangzhou has not only finalized the previous stage of work but is mapping out the next three-year action plan for participating in the BRI constriction, Hong added.

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A researcher conducts an experiment at the China-Singapore International Joint Research Institute in Guangzhou. LI JIANFENG/FOR CHINA DAILY

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