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China, Mongolia meet on cross-border trade zone

Updated: Mar 27,2015 4:34 PM     Xinhua

HOHHOT — China and Mongolia have agreed to dedicate nine square kilometers on either side of their border to a joint economic zone, in their first meeting on the issue.

The two sides met in Erenhot of North China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region on March 26 to discuss a zone comprising land in Erenhot and Zamyn-Uud across the border.

They will meet again in April, said Cao Hongying, deputy head of the foreign investment department of the Ministry of Commerce, on March 27.

The agreement over land allocation follows an August meeting between President Xi Jinping and Mongolian counterpart Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj in which Xi stressed the importance of the zone and called for a separate free trade treaty to be signed as early as possible.

China and Mongolia share a border stretching 4,710 km. Erenhot, which sits on the route of the China-Mongolia-Russia railway, is the border’s most significant customs checkpoint, accounting for 70 percent of trade between the two countries.

In June, China’s cabinet approved the city to pilot preferential policies in finance, taxation, investment and industry to deepen cooperation between China and Mongolia.

Luo Qing, mayor of Erenhot, said on March 27 that the zone will consolidate the city’s role in trade and tourism, and contribute to Inner Mongolia’s opening up.