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Xinjiang-Eurasia trade to regain momentum

Editor: Tong Xinxin 丨CCTV.com

02-04-2016 16:39 BJT

By Tom McGregor, CNTV Commentator

The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in northwest China is recognized for its oil and gas riches along with other natural resources. However in 2015, oil prices had plummeted while the downward cycle of the commodities markets had inflicted substantial pain on Xinjiang and Central Asia countries.

Xinhua reports that Xinjiang had witnessed sharp declines in trade with Russia and Eurasian nations last year, due to a devaluation of regional currencies, slowing economic growth rates and slump in consumption demand.

According to figures cited from Xinjiang Customs, 2015 foreign trade volume for Xinjiang stood at $US19.7bn., down 28.9% compared to 2014; exports shrank 25.4% at $US17.5bn.; imports down 48.2% at $US2.2bn. Xinjiang’s exports of electro-mechanical, textiles and shoes had plunged 11.4%, 45.2% and 27.9% respectively.

Bouncing back from the abyss

Despite the sudden downturn of Xinjiang’s cross-border trade with its Eurasian neighbors, local government officials have introduced new measures to boost the regional economy. They hope to encourage more overseas investments, expand trade cooperation and lower transportation costs.

Trade officials have also pledged fast Customs clearance for trade and agricultural products at land ports on the Xinjiang borders with Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

“Xinjiang’s agricultural trade with Central Asian countries is expected to grow significantly,” said Huang Shenquang, director of Xinjiang’s Port Office. “We are mulling the inclusion of electro-mechanical and energy products to the fast clearance list.”

Xinjiang is home robust fruit-growing and cotton-growing agriculture sectors that can rejuvenate its farm produce and textiles exports.

Hub for Silk Road Economic Belt

Xinjang’s territory covers 1.66 million sg./km. (three times France’s size), with a 5,500-km. land border, next to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, which offers easy access to the Eurasian heartland. 

In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the Belt and Road (New Silk Road) initiative. He pledged to build more infrastructure projects in the markets of Asia, Africa, Middle East, Eurasia and Europe, in an effort to strengthen economic inter-connectivity and spur more cross-border trade and investments in the region.

Accordingly, Xinjiang intends to transform into a core hub of transportation, energy and trade for the Belt & Road. Plans are underway, via the China Railways Corporation (CRCC), to construct more hi-speed passenger trains, as well as increasing railway transport capacity for bulk commodities transport.

Exploring a resources-rich land

Xinjiang holds plenty of benefits for investors and tourists; boasting of scenic landscapes, 3 snow-capped mountain ranges, pristine lakes, grasslands, rivers and the Gobi Desert.

Meanwhile, the region remains abundant with natural resources, including mineral resources - precious and semi-precious stones, along with crude oil, natural gas and coal, as reported by Pakistan’s Daily Times.

Renewable energy companies have also flocked to Xinjiang to take advantage of its suitable climate, mainly sunny, dry and windy days. Large-scale wind farms and solar plans span across the region. Such projects explain why China ranks as the world’s leading renewable energy producer.

Additionally, Central Asia countries continue to build more natural gas and oil pipelines that cross through Xinjiang, which are headed for destinations in China’s major cities in the east, north and south regions.

Poised for economic rebound

Beijing has embarked on a ‘Go West’ strategy, calling for Chinese manufacturers in crowded cities of eastern China to transfer their factories and logistics operations to western China, to boost exports, lower production costs, while alleviating population density and pollution in China’s metropolitan areas in the east.

Xinjiang is expected to be a major beneficiary of the strategy; and its largess of natural resources make the region more appealing to investors. Xinjiang stands ready for further economic growth that would result in more expanded trade ties with Eurasia.


Tmcgregorchina@yahoo.com

WeChat ID: +86 13439758718   

 

( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )

 

 

Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

 

  

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