Yunnan province will enhance regional connectivity and develop trade routes along its 4,060-kilometer-long international border over the next five years, according to its top leader.
Li Jiheng, who is also a deputy to the National People’s Congress, said developments in the transportation infrastructure, e-commerce, biomedicine and electronic information sectors would help Yunnan companies establish new manufacturing facilities and service branches in Southeast Asian and South Asian countries over the course of China’s 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20) period.
“We will work to achieve greater industrial capacity in cooperation with neighboring countries, as well as launch demonstration projects based on the principle that enterprises are at the forefront. We will provide support and ensure that all commercial operations are market-based,” Li said.
Yunnan, which has a population of 47.2 million and borders Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam, recorded $24.5 billion worth of foreign trade in goods last year, up 12.9 percent year-on-year.
Its foreign trade in services, meanwhile, reached $5.3 billion－a 23 percent increase over the year before.
The province will now apply the experiences and operational models learned from the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone to diversify its trade activities and attract foreign direct investment, Li said.
It will also utilize the infrastructure, such as highways, railways and airports, that has been built as part of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiatives.
“With more than two years of development, the Belt and Road Initiative has proved to be a practical tool for driving regional connectivity and cooperation under the current global business setting,” Li said.
According to Yunnan’s transportation blueprint, investment in road and water transportation will reach 100 billion yuan ($15.39 billion) in the province this year and is expected to top 500 billion yuan by 2020.
Construction of the Wudongde hydropower project, which will be China’s third largest dam and deliver 10,200 megawatts upon its completion in 2020, is also expected to contribute to the regional economy.
“In the long-term, the provincial government will improve and implement fiscal, tax and financial policies aimed at gaining foreign investment, promoting wider use of the renminbi in neighboring markets and making good use of bilateral industrial-capacity cooperation funds, as well as promoting greater use of Chinese equipment, technology, standards and services in neighboring markets,” said Li Jiang, an NPC deputy and Yunnan’s vice-governor.
She added that the province will work toward developing mechanisms for achieving compatibility in customs clearance procedures, building international logistics networks and accelerating the development of border and cross-border economic cooperation zones, overseas economic and trade cooperation zones.