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Spratlys > News > English News > Sept 2002

Category: @News

Sino-Vietnamese border town bustling with trade

Xinhuanet 2002-09-27 16:49:22

BEIJING, Sept. 27 (Xinhuanet) -- Along the several thousand kilometers of the Sino-Vietnamese border, Dongxing city, a 400-year-old treaty port, stands out as one of the busiest trade portsin southwest China.

Cargo ships from the two countries berth on docks of the city's boundary river of Beilun, exchanging goods including textiles, household appliances, daily necessities, seafood and rubber products.

At the same time, high-pitched bargaining can be heard in many accents of both Vietnamese and Chinese.

The number of tourists to and from China across the Beilun Bridge can reach up to 5,000 a day.

Within the city proper, vehicles and people are bustling on streets both new and a century old.

"Thanks to the friendly neighboring relationship with bordering nations, the economy of border lands in southwest China has bottomed out and is becoming increasingly brisker," Li Hong, an expert with Guangxi University on the study of Southeast Asia, said.

One citizen, Peng Min, remembers well that in 1979, the city had only three streets whose combined area was merely 0.8 square kilometers.

"But now, there are more than 60 streets, and the city proper's size has multiplied by as much as six times," Peng said.

Since Sino-Vietnamese border trade officially began in 1990, nearly 40 percent of the city's revenue was generated by border trades whose total volume has reached 6.429 billion yuan (about 774.6 million US dollars).

Besides, the thriving border trade also attracted investors and traders from more developed regions such as Guangdong, Zhejiang, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Nguyen Thi Hong, a businesswoman from Vietnam, said, "China's industrial products, from motorcycles to porcelain cups, are welcomed by the Vietnamese. Some of them even have been transported to Cambodia."

"As border trading transactions can now be settled with banks on both sides, the inconvenience formerly incurred by carrying large stacks of cash has been avoided," she said.

According to city Mayor Li Guidong, Dongxing has maintained an annual growth rate of 19 percent in its gross domestic product (GDP) since 1996.

Last year, the city's GDP reached 180 million US dollars and some 500,000 Chinese have been found going through the port to Ha Long Vihn of Vietnam for sightseeing, a number nearly five times more than the whole population of Dongxing.

Available statistics show that the city has 1,100 industrial and commercial enterprises now, of which 26 are joint ventures specializing in real estate, tourism, processing and border trades.

After China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) proposed the Free Trade Area agreement last November, two new land boundary markers were set up separately in Dongxing city and the neighboring Maojie of Vietnam.

Being the only city in southern China sharing both land and sea borders with an ASEAN member, Dongxing has become the most convenient land and sea port in southeast Asia.

So far, the regional government of Guangxi has invested a total of 2.07 billion yuan (about 249 million US dollars) on the city's infrastructure construction.

"Under the West Development Strategy, the border lands in southwest China stand as a bridge to further boost the cultural and economic exchanges between China and ASEAN countries, and these lands can anticipate a golden future," Li Hong said. Enditem