Foreign trade in Bayannur boosted to record levels by BRI
Published: Nov 10, 2023 02:45 AM
A worker packages raw sunflower seeds for export to Iran in a factory in Bayannur, North China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Photo: Tao Mingyang/GT

A worker packages raw sunflower seeds for export to Iran in a factory in Bayannur, North China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Photo: Tao Mingyang/GT

Bayannur in North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region registered foreign trade worth 31.25 billion yuan ($4.29 billion) in the first three quarters of the year, up 28.5 percent year-on-year. It's the first time the figure has passed the 30-billion-yuan benchmark, and it's partly because the border city has strengthened cooperation and trade with Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) partner countries.

Bayannur's key products have been exported to 102 overseas countries and regions, including 40 out of 65 BRI partner countries and regions, a representative of the local government told the Global Times on Thursday.

In January 2022, Bayannur launched its first China-Europe freight train to Moscow via Erenhot port, which is also in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. So far in 2023, Bayannur has operated 15 outbound trains, and three inbound trains from Kazakhstan, transporting 51,800 tons of cargo valued at 530 million yuan, according to the local government.

"The China-Europe freight train greatly enhances the connectivity between China and other BRI partner countries, and has diversified transport methods for cross-border trade," Yang Bin, a representative from Chentai Industry Trade Co, one of the leading local agricultural companies, told the Global Times on Thursday.

The freight train has reduced the company's transport costs, especially as marine shipment prices surged during the COVID-19 pandemic, he noted.

Bayannur has a total planting area for sunflowers and other types of seed kernels of over 4 million mu (266,667 hectares), accounting for a quarter of the national total, and the output accounts for one third of the national volume, making it the largest planting center and distribution center for edible sunflowers in China's western regions.

Bayannur current has over 200 local kernel trade enterprises, and over 130 kernel processing enterprises. The annual trade volume has reached about 1.5 million tons, and the annual processing volume has reached 800,000 tons, pushing the total annual revenue across the 6-billion-yuan mark, said the local commerce bureau.

At present, Bayannur's kernel industry has been developed into a national level foreign trade transformation example base.

Based on the business so far this year, the annual export volume this year is estimated to increase by about 20 percent from 2022, Shan Jiahao, a representative of Liniuniu Food Technology Co, another local agricultural product company, told the Global Times. Most of the company's products are sold to BRI partner countries in the Middle East and ASEAN, Shan said.

At the Sixth China International Import Exhibition, the Bayannur government on Tuesday signed an agreement to co-build a research and evaluation base of technical measures for trade of seed kernel products with the international quarantine department of China's General Administration of Customs, as a step toward creating the nation's first research base for technical trade measures for kernel products.

Shan also expressed confidence in the domestic market as general consumption has recovered in the second half of 2023. "The coming Spring Festival is the sales peak for our products, and the monthly sales are expected to surpass 2 million yuan," said Shan.

Global Times