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Ningbo injects impetus in China-CEEC cooperation under the BRI framework
Source: Zhejiang Daily     Date: 2019-06-06
  
On June 8, the national name card of the Belt and Road Initiative - China-CEEC Expo will kick off in Ningbo, east China's Zhejiang Province. Approved by the Central CPC Committee and the State Council, the China-CEEC Expo and International Consumer Goods Fair this year is elevated to a national level, which is currently the only national-level exhibition focusing on the China-CEEC cooperation. The event is set to become an essential platform for Zhejiang and Ningbo to participate in the BRI construction, expand high-level opening up and promote high-quality development.
  
Why does Ningbo frequently stand in the spotlight in the comprehensive China-CEEC cooperation under the framework of BRI?
  
As early as 2014, Ningbo organized the Ministerial Conference of China and Central and Eastern European Countries on Promoting Trade and Economic Cooperation and CEEC Commodity Exhibition. Starting from 2015, it successfully held China-CEEC Investment & Trade Expo for four years in succession and has become an important platform for China and CEECs to deepen economic and trade cooperation and cultural exchange in the BRI construction.
  
Win opportunities by planning in advance
  
“Ningbo made early decisions and start early in the cooperation with CEECs,” said Yu Danhua, vice president of China Association of International Trade.
  
The Belt and Road Initiative was unveiled by China in 2013. In November the same year, China and CEECs unveiled a Bucharest Guideline on China-CEEC Cooperation in Romania, announced 2014 as the “Year for Promoting the Economic and Trade Cooperation Between China and CEECs” and proposed to hold CEEC Commodity Exhibition in China.
  
According to Yu, “In early 2014 while we were preparing for the exhibition, we learned that China was selecting a site for Ministerial Conference of China and Central and Eastern European Countries on Promoting Trade and Economic Cooperation. We decided to undertake both events.”
  
With many years of experience in large-scale comprehensive exhibitions, Ningbo has taken an earlier step. Through the concerted efforts of each party, related ministries and commissions were finally moved - the two events were to be held in Ningbo.
  
In June 2014, Ningbo welcomed more than 6,000 kinds of CEEC products from 386 exhibitors and 180 enterprises of 16 CEECs. 31 important conferences and bilateral meetings were held under the Ministerial Conference, which enabled the attendees to gain a deeper knowledge of Zhejiang.
  
The success of the two events encouraged Ningbo to apply for the first China-CEEC Investment & Trade Expo.
  
Ningbo's cooperation mechanism with CEECs has been gradually established at both city and provincial levels, while Ningbo's competitors lagged too far behind.
  
To date, the expo has been held for four times in Ningbo. Taking it as a platform, Ningbo has established a series of platforms including CEEC Industrial Park, CEEC Trade Logistics Park, CEEC Commodity Permanent Pavilion, CEEC Youth Innovation Center and “17+1” Digital Center for Promoting Economic and Trade Cooperation.  During the third Ministerial Conference of China and CEECs on Promoting Trade and Economic Cooperation last June, the first China-CEEC Economic and Trade Cooperation Demonstration Zone was unveiled officially in the city.
  
Fruitful economic and trade cooperation
  
As the comprehensive and deep economic and trade cooperation between China and CEECs was unfolded, a lot of businesspeople have been attracted from the CEECs. Large flows of logistics, information and funds have entered and been distributed from Ningbo, and CEEC products have been introduced into Chinese market.
  
On May 20 this year, a container loaded with Latvia paint was shipped on a cargo vessel departed from Riga and bound for China. Ningbo Port was the first stop after it arrived in China. Behind the container vessel is the China (Ningbo)-Latvia Cross-border E-commerce Port Project signed by Ningbo municipal government and Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA) this April, with an aim to facilitate the transactions between both sides.
  
The staff of Ningbo Yuncang Logistics Co., Ltd. located in the bonded area were busy packing and shipping the cartons of Polish milk. The import volume of various dairy products of Poland to Ningbo in the first four months of 2019 was 512.9 tons, worth 6.42 million yuan, a significant growth of 1.5 times compared with the same period of last year.
  
These two days, Chen Yi, general manager of Ningbo Dijia Weida Business Trade Co., Ltd., has received products ordered from Poland for the expo. Chen and her husband has introduced commodities of over 50 specifications and models under more than ten categories from two countries into China. Taking Polish milk as an example, two containers of it were imported in the first year. Now three containers of milk are imported every month on average and nearly 200,000 bottles of milk are sold every month.
  
Mickal Berky from Slovakia, a new "Ningboer", has finished a hop skip and jump in his career in five years, from a national brand ambassador of Slovakia at the first China-CEEC Expo to a CEEC partner of Ningbo Bonded Area Dinghui International Trade Co., Ltd.,then to a crossover investment to run a language training and education agency. Mickal Berky and his friends have opened a Slovakia Pavilion at Ningbo International Convention and Exhibition Center to bring Slovakia’s products to Ningbo.
  
These examples are just an epitome of the trade contacts between Ningbo and CEECs.
  
An increasing number of CEEC commodities have entered China via Ningbo, changing our daily life imperceptibly. According to the data of Ningbo Customs, the value of trade between Ningbo and 17 countries of Central and Eastern Europe in 2018 was USD 3.99 billion, a growth of 26.8%, accounting for 4.5% of that of China. Besides, among the purchase orders of Ningbo enterprises in the first China International Import Expo, the value of CEEC commodities accounted for 15% of that of China.
  
141 two-way investment projects
  
Investment talks between both sides in each field are underway. Ningbo’s manufacturing enterprises have become a vanguard in the production capacity investment cooperation with the CEECs.
  
In Zhongjie Industrial Park located in Binhai Economic Development Zone of Cixi City, the Czech light aircraft project, Cessna aircraft maintenance center, the outdoor incubator project, Hungary electronic magic wall project, etc., are moving forward smoothly. In the coming five years, it’s planned to produce 140 light aircraft in the park. After the incubator project is put into operation, it’s expected to produce 300,000 incubators annually.
  
In the bonded area, the CEEC Trade Logistics Park completed and put into use a food warehouse of 12,000 ㎡ in 2017. Now the second phase a constant temperature food warehouse of 8,000 ㎡ has entered the stage of project design and is expected to be completed at the end of this year. It will mainly provide the traders and e-commerce enterprises of CEECs with comprehensive supply chain services integrating “overseas warehouse” operation and freight forwarding.
  
Famous enterprises of Ningbo such as Joyson Electronics and Huaxiang Group have successively established their presence in CEECs. Joyson Electronics has established more than ten production bases in CEECs, supplying clients such as Benz, BMW and Audi with high-end auto functional parts, with annual sales of more than 5 billion yuan.
  
Meanwhile, solar energy equipment producers of Ningbo such as Risen Solar Technology and Ulica Soar have pushed forward solar energy power plant construction in such countries as Bulgaria and Romania.
  
When the global economy is still uncertain, the CEECs have become a new growth engine for Ningbo enterprises. Recently, Ningbo has taken active measures on the establishment of the first Ningbo CEE Industrial Park in Romania to facilitate its enterprises to go global.
  
Up until now, 141 two-way investment projects have been launched between Ningbo and CEECs, involving pharmacy, automobile accessory, education, tourism, etc.
  
Under the framework of the BRI, Ningbo will take CEECs as a major breakthrough. Both sides will join hands to keep deepening the cooperation.