8th China-South Asia Expo set to bolster regional cooperation

Source:Xinhua 10-07-24 11:26 Updated BJT
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Visitors select products at the booth of Pakistan at the 7th China-South Asia Expo in Kunming, southwest China's Yunnan Province, Aug. 18, 2023. (Xinhua/Hu Chao)

BEIJING, July 9 (Xinhua) -- The 8th China-South Asia Expo will be held from July 23 to 28 in Kunming, capital of southwest China's Yunnan Province, a Chinese commerce official announced on Tuesday.

The event, jointly hosted by the Ministry of Commerce and the Yunnan provincial government, will be one of the most important events for economic and trade exchanges between China and South Asian nations this year, said Vice Minister of Commerce Li Fei at a press conference in Beijing.

The expo was first held in Kunming in 2013, the year when China put forward the Belt and Road Initiative. Li said that over the past 11 years, China and South Asian countries have deepened practical cooperation in various fields, and maintained a sound momentum of development in economic and trade exchanges, delivering benefits to the people of both sides.

PREPARATIONS IN FULL SWING

The upcoming expo will feature industries with great potential for cooperation with South Asian countries, including green energy, modern agriculture, medical care as well as culture and tourism, Liu Yong, vice governor of Yunnan Province, told the press conference.

"At present, preparations are proceeding orderly, and representatives from 81 countries, regions and international organizations have confirmed participation," Liu said.

In terms of exhibitor registration, nearly 2,000 companies have registered to participate in the exhibition, of which nearly half are overseas companies, covering all countries in South Asia and Southeast Asia, according to Yang Mu, head of the Department of Commerce of Yunnan Province.

To accommodate the exhibition needs of enterprises from South Asian nations, an additional South Asia pavilion will be set up at this year's expo, Yang said, adding that organizers have also invited over 2,300 buyers to facilitate business deals at the exhibition.

This year's expo also features a pavilion for the coffee industry, which highlights Yunnan's reputation as China's leading coffee producer, Yang said.

FOSTERING CHINA-SOUTH ASIA COOPERATION

After years of development, the expo has become an important platform for China and South Asian countries to carry out economic and trade cooperation and cultural exchanges, Li said, adding that the expo has played an important role and made positive contributions in the process of deepening mutually beneficial cooperation between China and South Asian countries.

The official said that friends from all walks of life at home and abroad are welcome to attend the event to build consensus on solidarity, cooperation and common development.

Chinese official data shows that trade volume between China and South Asian countries reached nearly 200 billion U.S. dollars in 2023, twice the amount in 2013. During the seventh China-South Asia Expo held last year, 338 projects with a total investment value of about 56.1 billion U.S. dollars were signed.

Li said that the expo has served as a platform for policy exchanges aimed at expanding economic and trade cooperation between China and South Asia. It has also facilitated trade in goods and served as a platform for showcasing South Asian products entering China. "The expo enables more and more South Asian specialty products such as Sri Lankan black tea and Nepalese carpets to enter the Chinese market," Li added.

Since 2013, the expo has served more than 18,000 domestic and foreign companies, promoted trade of more than 100 billion U.S. dollars, and facilitated the signing of over 3,000 projects, Li said.

YUNNAN AS HUB FOR CHINA-SOUTH ASIA COOPERATION

According to Liu Yong, Yunnan has continued to pursue opening up to achieve high-quality development. He added that in recent years, the province has accelerated efforts to strengthen its role as a hub in driving China's cooperation with South Asia and Southeast Asia.

"We have facilitated the construction of the China-Laos-Thailand and the China-Myanmar transport routes, promoted cross-border multimodal transport and further strengthened economic and trade exchanges with South Asian and Southeast Asian countries," Liu said.

The official added that the Kunming Changshui International Airport in Yunnan has 26 flight routes to South Asia and Southeast Asia, with its international cargo routes connecting nations including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Thailand.

"We also made new achievements in cultural exchanges by implementing the 'Heart-to-Heart Yunnan Tour' livelihood project in neighboring countries," he said.

The province has carried out the "Bright Journey" program in Sri Lanka for two consecutive years, helping 218 cataract patients regain their sight. Events like boat racing were organized in Nepal and table tennis training programs were conducted in the Maldives, fostering exchanges through sports, according to Liu.

He said that by upholding the principles of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness, Yunnan will continue to deepen cooperation with neighboring countries in education, culture, tourism, science and technology, health and other fields, and continue to build a bridge for people-to-people exchanges.  

Editor: MaoZongjin
10-07-24 11:26 BJT
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