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UPDATED: September 10, 2014 NO. 37 SEPTEMBER 11, 2014
All Roads Lead to West China
The Chinese Government is building a bonded logistics network to ensure smooth trade flow between Asia and Europe
By Hou Beibei

FULLY READY: Wuwei Bonded Logistics Center in Gansu Province is set to open (HOU BEIBEI)

Gansu, an inland province in northwest China, abounds with high-quality fruit, including apples, grapes and sweet pepinos. Located far from the nearest seaport, Gansu is faced with the problem of how to export fresh fruit in good time. "It takes 35 days to ship cargo from Shanghai to Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Air transportation is faster but the cost is higher. Now, the farm produce of Gansu and our neighboring regions can be exported from Wuwei Bonded Logistics Center," said Fang Hongming, Chairman of Gansu Asia-Europe Continental Bridge International Logistics Ltd., the operator of the center. "We have built a cold storage and the cold-chain transportation facilities and plan to open Sino-Europe Express freight trains in October. It will take only 11 days from Wuwei to Rotterdam."

Wuwei, located in central Gansu, was once a key location lying along the ancient Silk Road. Today, as the junction of the Lianyungang-Horgos Expressway and the Lanzhou-Xinjiang Railway, it is still a transportation hub that connects China and Central Asia. On August 16, the first stage of construction of Wuwei Bonded Logistics Center, which is Gansu's first area to be subject to special customs privileges was completed.

The bonded logistics center can take on the functions of seaports such as commodity inspection, customs clearance and tax refund. Once the exported goods arrive at the center, the enterprises can enjoy a one-stop customs clearance service and get the export tax return in the shortest possible time. Meanwhile, the enterprises can store import goods in the center's warehouses, paying custom duties until the goods are sent out of the center. According to Fang, many Taiwanese electronic enterprises, as well as local leading companies, have expressed a strong desire to set up factories or logistics bases in the center.

"The center will change the situation of Gansu's relying on seaports to export and import and promote the economic development of the province and its neighboring areas. After the center starts operating, Wuwei will become an important international logistics hub linking Asia and Europe," said Li Zhixun, Mayor of Wuwei.

Chinese President Xi Jinping's proposal of building the Silk Road Economic Belt in September 2013 offers unprecedented opportunities for western regions. Bonded areas have been established in Shaanxi and Gansu provinces, and Ningxia Hui and Xinjiang Uygur autonomous regions. When all of them are put into operation, the Silk Road Economic Belt will reemerge as a premium trade route from the East to the West.

A logistics network

In order to improve the coordination between each other, the logistics park in Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi, has signed agreements related to inspection, clearance and reloading of the goods with Xinjiang's Alataw Pass and Horgos, which are major ports on the border of China and Kazakhstan. According to the agreements, the exported goods on the cross-border freight train Chang'an, which was launched on November 28, 2013, only need to be checked up by the port customs after the consignors complete formalities at local customs.

Wuwei Bonded Logistics Center takes a similar approach to that of Xi'an. According to the strategic cooperation agreement signed between Wuwei and Horgos, goods being exported from the center can go through the port customs without inspection within four hours.

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