Region plans elaborate measures to expand commerce and strengthen ties
The China-Central and Eastern European Countries Expo and International Consumer Goods Fair held in Ningbo in 2019 holds 20 forums and exhibitions. CHINA DAILY
As the host city of the China-Central and Eastern European Countries Expo & International Consumer Goods Fair, Ningbo in Zhejiang province is working to build itself into a large import and export center for the booming trade market between China and CEEC.
Statistics show that China plans to import commodities worth more than $170 billion from Central and Eastern European countries during the next five years. Ningbo plays a key role in opening up the domestic market to the outside world.
"We opened a branch in Ningbo this year because we're interested in the city's logistics advantage, which allows imported goods to spread across East China at a lower cost," said Wang Wenjia, general manager of Zhejiang Defei Supply Chain Management.
Wang, who has been engaged in the import of Polish milk for many years, is looking forward to the upcoming China-CEEC Expo.
The expo will kick off on June 8 and run through to June 11.
It's expected to attract more than 300 CEEC companies, featuring products including private aircraft from Slovenia, high-end kitchen appliances from the Czech Republic and popular skincare brands from Poland.
"In 2014, I heard that Ningbo had a special exhibition for Central and Eastern European countries, so I decided to come," said Huang Dongdong, head of Ningbo Kewei Trading Co. "The business has become more prosperous since then and we import tens of thousands of helmets from Poland every year."
Today, more than 90 percent of firefighters in Jiangsu province use these Polish helmets from Ningbo.
Ningbo's passenger car imports from Central and Eastern European countries are also witnessing a huge increase in trade.
In the first quarter of this year, Ningbo imported 2,773 complete vehicles from Slovakia with a value of more than 1.14 billion yuan ($177.78 million), mainly via Jaguar Land Rover (Ningbo) Trading.
Through Ningbo Port, the mechanical and electrical products, automobiles and auto parts of Central and Eastern European countries have opened the door to China.
"Cars manufactured in Central and Eastern European countries are in line with National VI emission standards, coupled with reasonable prices and excellent quality," explained a supervisor from the business division of the Meishan Customs under Ningbo Customs.
"They have become incredibly popular in the eyes of importers. At this stage, imported vehicles are still mainly stocked, and they will be subject to environmental protection certificates," he added.
"They can be put on the market as soon as possible, injecting more vitality into the domestic automobile market."
In 2017, Ningbo cooperated with COSCO Shipping and invested a total of 80 million yuan to build a trade and logistics base in Central and Eastern Europe. Last year, the city helped 73 companies to import and export goods worth $187 million.
At the same time, Ningbo launched a land-sea express line in cooperation with COSCO Shipping Logistics, based on the route from Piraeus Port in Greece to Zhoushan Port in Ningbo.
Its supply chain solutions can help companies reduce logistics costs by more than 20 percent.
Meanwhile, the construction of the domestic sales system will also be factored into Ningbo's goal to build itself into a center for imports from CEEC. According to the Overall Plan for Building the Ningbo China-CEEC Economic and Trade Cooperation Demonstration Zone, approved by the city's Party committee in February 2020, the city will focus on building a domestic sales system for Central and Eastern European goods.
To further facilitate the bilateral trade between China and CEEC, Ningbo has come up with a series of measures such as establishing the Central and Eastern European Commodity Purchasing Alliance, releasing favorable policies and expanding the access of imported commodities.
Chen Youxiang, president of Ninghua Group, a leading enterprise in the alliance, said the group will strive to build a business cooperation platform for CEEC.
In doing so, the group will cooperate with embassies, consulates, and business associations to upgrade products, boost industries such as culture and tourism, and also open up logistics, finance and trade.
"Specifically, we will build Ningbo as the first city for Central and Eastern European products to enter the Chinese market through integration of supply chains, services, sales channels, brand incubation and centralized procurement," Chen said. Ningbo is also striving to strengthen cooperation with large supermarkets and e-commerce platforms, and expanding the sales channels.
Ningbo has a good natural environment as well as an open business environment. CHINA DAILY