China launches trans-border trade center near Kazakhstan border
China on Friday launched a trans-national free trade center near the China-Kazakhstan border as part of its efforts to boost economic cooperation with central Asia.
Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang and Kazakh Deputy Prime Minister Aset Isekeshev attended a launching ceremony for the center in the city of Horgos in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
The ceremony also celebrated the joining of a China-Kazakhstan railway.
The two projects reflect the great attention paid by the leaders of both nations to bilateral comprehensive strategic cooperation, as well as the intelligence and hard work of the people of both countries, Zhang said. Zhang said the completion of the two projects will bring new opportunities for cooperation between China and Kazakhstan.
Isekeshev said Kazakhstan attaches great importance to the two projects, adding that he hopes both sides will further enhance relations in order to promote the prosperity and development of both countries.
The center is the first trans-border international cooperation center in Eurasia and will serve as a free trade center, an industrial innovation park and a trans-border logistics center.
Citizens from China, Kazakhstan and a third country will be permitted to stay at the center for as long as 30 days.
The trade center will help to reduce barriers and facilitate bilateral trade, said Liang Xinyuan, executive vice director of the management committee of the Horgos Special Economic Development Zone.
Wang Ning, head of an economic research institute under the Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences, said China will use the center to reach out to central Asian markets, tapping into 60 million potential customers.
The center is being opened at a time when China is building Horgos and Kashgar, two border towns in Xinjiang, into key financial and manufacturing hubs, the latest move in the country's efforts to bring prosperity to the land-locked west.