China approves Russia’s Vladivostok as cross-border transit port, in show of high-level strategic mutual trust
Published: May 15, 2023 06:16 PM Updated: May 15, 2023 06:08 PM

China-Russia Photo: VCG

China-Russia Photo: VCG

China has approved Vladivostok in Russia as a cross-border transit port for domestic trade shipments in Northeast China's Jilin Province, effective from June 1, Chinese customs said on Monday.

The move is aimed at implementing the national strategic plan to revitalize Northeast China's industrial base and facilitate the cross-border transport of domestic trade goods with the use of overseas ports, the General Administration of Customs China (GACC) said on Monday on its website.

It will provide Jilin and Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province with more convenient access to the sea port, promote domestic trade and revitalize Northeast China's aging industrial base, analysts said.

In the past, goods from Heilongjiang and Jilin provinces needed to be transported to Dalian, Northeast China's Liaoning Province, and then transferred to Shanghai, South China's Guangzhou or other parts of the country, adding to shipping times and costs, Liang Haiming, dean of Hainan University's Belt and Road Research Institute, told the Global Times on Monday. If transferring through Vladivostok in the future, the land transportation distance can be shortened by more than 800 kilometers, and the cost will be greatly reduced.

In order to reduce the cost of southbound transport of bulk goods in Northeast China, since 2007, the GAC has agreed to transfer goods from this region to neighboring countries' ports for transit and then to ports in the southern part of China for entry according to international transit business, an official of the GACC said on Monday in a statement.

International transit is an internationally accepted customs practice, and China has accumulated many years of practical experience, the official said.

Analysts pointed out that the participation of Vladivostok port in China's trading system is an example of the continuous progress of China-Russia trade cooperation over the years. It reflects high-level strategic mutual trust between China and Russia.

Some American and Western media outlets now reflexively link China-Russia cooperation to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. In fact, since 2000, the rapid development of the Asia-Pacific economy has made Russia start to promote a new round of development strategy of its Far East region, they said.

"The opening of the transit port will also attract more investment and business to northeastern China in the future, which will contribute to the takeoff of the regional economy," Liang said.

Chen Jia, an independent global strategy analyst, told the Global Times on Monday that several new low-cost domestic and foreign trade channels would be built in the region.

Cooperation in the transportation field would also lay a solid foundation for China and Russia to expand trade, investment and mega projects, experts said.

With the opening of Vladivostok port, China and Russia can engage in more cooperation in port construction and logistics, further enhancing the economic vitality of northeastern China and development in the Russian Far East, Song Kui, head of the Contemporary China-Russia Regional Economy Research Institute, told the Global Times on Monday.

Bilateral trade between China and Russia stood at $73.15 billion over the first four months of 2023, surging 41.3 percent year-on-year, according to the GACC.

So far, road-based freight volume in 2023 has increased by about 1.5 times year-on-year, with more than 75,000 vehicles passing through road checkpoints through the China-Russia border since January 1, according to Russia's Federal Customs Service.

The huge increase in trade has resulted in long lines of trucks waiting to enter China from Russia, Russian media reported.

The line of trucks stretches for 7 to 10 kilometers at the Manzhouli-Zabaikalsk land border port. According to estimates by truck drivers, the need for throughput at the border point is about 300 vehicles a day, Izvestia reported.