Fujian Province hosts GCCAC, becoming the world's major international cooperation and exchange platform
Published: Nov 23, 2023 08:25 PM
An aerial view of the Port of Xiamen in East China's Fujian Province on March 14, 2023 Photo: VCG

An aerial view of a port in East China’s Fujian Province on March 14, 2023 Photo: VCG

On the shore of a port in Fuzhou, East China's Fujian Province, rows of containers are neatly stacked, ready to be transported from this important starting point and birthplace of the ancient Maritime Silk Road to Indonesia, Sri Lanka, South Africa and elsewhere.

Over the past decade, the province has grown into a leading area of the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, witnessing fruitful achievements and embracing unlimited cooperation opportunities with Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) partner countries. 

Fuzhou has just wrapped an international exchange conference known as the Belt and Road Global Chambers of Commerce and Association Conference (GCCAC), which is the world's first international cooperation and exchange platform with chambers of commerce, industrial associations and other social organizations as major participants. The conference aims to harness the resources of chambers of commerce as the BRI cooperation advances, and explore new international cooperation opportunities.

During the one-day conference, multiple ambassadors and officials from BRI partner countries hailed a range of positive outcomes with Fujian-based enterprises, achieved under the framework of the BRI, as they set sights on more cooperation chances in digital economy and green development.

Evolving platform

With the efforts to build it into a platform for trade and economic cooperation and a hub for people-to-people exchanges, Fujian province has become a demonstration site of the high-quality development of the BRI framework, which is radiating its industry advantages to ASEAN, Middle East and Africa.

Over the past 10 years, Fujian's foreign trade with BRI partner countries has rapidly increased from 438.97 billion yuan ($61.85 billion) in 2013 to reach 983.32 billion yuan in 2022, recording cumulative growth of 124 percent and an average annual growth rate of 9.4 percent, respectively.

"Fujian will grasp the opportunity of building BRI and accelerates the construction of the core area of the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, with more products, technologies and services of the province going overseas," Lin Baojin, a member of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Fujian Provincial Committee and secretary of the CPC Fuzhou Municipal Committee, said during a speech at the opening ceremony of the GCCAC.

As a new flagship in the BRI, China-Indonesia "Two Countries, Twin Parks" not only establishes a new platform for economic and trade cooperation between China and the ASEAN countries, but also sets a new model for deepening regional cooperation in Southeast Asia.

The Yuanhong Investment Zone of China-Indonesia Two Countries, Twin Parks project Photo: Liu Yang/GT

The Yuanhong Investment Zone of China-Indonesia "Two Countries, Twin Parks" project Photo: Liu Yang/GT

The Chinese carrier is the Yuanhong Investment Zone in Fuqing, Fuzhou, and the Indonesian side view the three industrial parks as its core assets, the Global Times learned while visiting the Yuanhong Investment Zone on Thursday.

As of August 2023, the Chinese park accommodated 620 commercial and trade enterprises, with a total investment amount of 90.6 billion yuan. Chinese enterprises invested in 17 projects in Indonesia, with a total investment of 39.9 billion yuan.

Fujian enterprises are also playing a proactive role in cooperating with African countries. "Our state has also been fortunate to benefit from the BRI as we have rapid industrial development, thanks to the numerous industrial companies from Fujian, led by Yongxing Steel, which has promoted industrial development in my state and helped create new jobs," Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki, governor of the Edo State of Nigeria, said on Wednesday. 

Obaseki noted a decade on, more Fujian firms have invested in the state, engaging in different fields including ceramic products, glass manufacturing and wood industry, which promoted local social development, making the state an important building materials center in Southern Nigeria.

Future co-op chances

During the Fuzhou visit, numerous foreign officials told the Global Times that they came to China to explore more future cooperation chances in green development, digital cooperation and high-tech domain to further achieve the win-win results boosted by the BRI.

In addition to industrial parks cooperation between China and Indonesia, the BRI has made China and Chinese enterprises one of the top three sources of investment in Indonesia and the largest source of tourism market in the country, Nia Niscaya, main expert of Tourism and Creative Economy of Indonesia, told the Global Times in an exclusive interview recently.

The operation of the Jakarta-Bandung High-speed Railway not only greatly facilitates local transportation, but has also turned Bandung into a popular tourist destination, Niscaya said, noting that in the post pandemic time, Indonesia is welcoming more Chinese tourists and looking forward to expanding tourism cooperation with China.

"Slovenia is enthusiastic about joining the BRI, and cooperation in industry and commerce between China and Slovenia are critical," Tomaz Amon, president of Slovene-Chinese Friendship Association, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Amon noted that tourism collaboration is a vital topic under the BRI. "Slovenia has a pristine environment, and there is a great opportunity for Chinese people to explore the scenery there."

Obaseki said that the digital economy and e-commerce have opened a new channel for close China-Africa cooperation, adding that the state is looking forward for ramped-up cooperation in manufacturing and digitalization with China, including Fujian.

Yu Tao, director of the 4th Board of Directors from China-Africa Business Council, shared the same opinion with Obaseki. He told the Global Times that African countries have a large population, which provides unlimited potential to develop the digital economy. 

"China has rich experience and achievements in developing the digital economy in areas like e-payment and setting up e-commerce platforms. Fujian, thanks to its natural geographical advantage as a costal Chinese province, is also actively promoting the digital economy, which will make contribution for the digitalization of African countries," Yu said.