By Chang Biluo, People's Daily
Guoyuan Port is playing a bigger and bigger role in the opening up of southwest China's Chongqing municipality due to its unique geographic advantages.
It is linked with the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road by the Yangtze River Economic Belt to the east and connects the Silk Road Economic Belt via the westward China-Europe freight train routes. Besides, cargoes at the port can go all the way down to Qinzhou Port, in south China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region along the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, and be shipped overseas via the southern gateway.
Guoyuan Port, gathering factors of inland opening up, is improving its port functions and accelerating intelligent development. It has been approved as a port-based logistics hub at national level.
During an inspection tour to Guoyuan Port, Chinese President Xi Jinping requested Chongqing to better its opening up platforms and build itself into an inland international logistics hub.
Over recent years, the development of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has provided a larger platform for Chongqing to "go global," and the progress achieved by the Yangtze River Economic Belt better integrated Chongqing into the development of central and east China.
Guoyuan Port, building itself into an intelligent and green port for higher logistics efficiency, is a miniature of Chongqing's efforts to expand its opening up channels.
Chongqing is currently striving for better construction, management, and operation of its ports, to serve the development of the BRI and the Yangtze River Economic Belt, and advance China's western development program. It enjoys huge development potential and bright prospects.
Opening up leads to prosperity. The head of a foreign trade company told People's Daily that the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor has cut shipping time by over 50 percent, and his company's business in Southeast Asia is thriving.
Many enterprises doing business in Chongqing, seeing the dividends of opening up, are confident about the development of interior China.
Their confidence came from a series of facilitation measures adopted by the municipality. For instance, settlement by letter of credit and rail-ocean intermodal trains have significantly facilitated foreign trade enterprises; the pilot program of "ship-side direct pickup" of imported goods and "direct loading upon arrival" of exported goods has optimized the process of customs clearance; the single-window system has reduced customs clearance time by over 30 percent and cut enterprises' comprehensive costs by over 20 percent.
Working to meet enterprises' demands, giving play to policy advantages, improving service quality and optimizing supporting measures, Chongqing has widened its platforms of opening up and gradually built itself into a focus of opening-up in China's interior.
The municipality's opening up channels are of national influence and connect China with the rest of the world. They not only extend the industrial chain of the logistics sector and the value chain of the trade sector, but also boost regional development, bringing Chongqing, an interior municipality, much closer to the world.
"We will better plan regional opening up, consolidate the leading position of eastern coastal areas in opening up, and more widely open the central, western, and northeastern regions," said Xi in the report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.
Opening up and development shall not be exclusive to a certain area. Instead, it should be pursued by all regions. It calls for integrated resources, concerted efforts and coordinated steps.
Apart from Chongqing, all regions in west China are working to optimize their opening up platforms. An inter-region operation platform of the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor is well underway. Provinces and municipalities along logistics channels are cooperating closely. New advantages of development are taking shape.
By adopting approaches that address both local and regional development, acting in light of local conditions, making science-based planning, conducting practical cooperation, and driving reform, development and innovation through opening up, inland areas will be better integrated into the national and even global economic and trade systems.
It is believed that inland areas, including Chongqing, will be able to promote high-quality development through higher-level opening up as long as they make unremitting efforts to smooth opening up channels, build opening up platforms and enhance inter-regional cooperation.