Op-ed: Foreign investment law to further boost opening-up

China’s national legislature passed the foreign investment law at the closing meeting of its annual session on March 15.

Foreign media described the approval as “extremely important” and the “largest highlight of the annual session of the national legislature”, believing that the decision has showcased China’s confidence to open its arms wider to the world, and its sincere hope for openness, mutual benefit and win-win results.

The approval is a display of China’s strong determination to further expand opening up. As it is said by a senior manager of a multinational corporation who took part in the discussion of the draft law and the solicitation of opinions, the unified foreign investment law represents a major step of China toward a deeper level of institutional opening-up.

A Financial Times report also pointed out that the law will soothe foreign businesses’ concerns, protect their legitimate rights in China and keep investment flowing into the country.

Some foreign scholars said that the Chinese market is getting more mature and interacting with the world better, saying that the Chinese economy is becoming more and more confident.

China has taken a slew of measures to facilitate opening up, such as jointly building the Belt and Road, establishing the pilot free trade zones (FTZs), promoting the establishment of a free trade port with Chinese characteristics, and holding the first China International Import Expo and preparing for the second one.

These efforts mark that China has embarked on a historic journey of opening-up, and is furthering reform and opening up in a comprehensive way. The new measures once again indicate that China will open wider to the world.

The approval the foreign investment law reflects China’s quickened steps toward pursuing high-quality development through reform. The law signifies a fundamental change in China’s management of foreign investment, said the Associated Press.

Chinese economy has transitioned from a phase of rapid growth to a stage of high-quality development. Promoting and protecting foreign investment by enacting a national law is a natural step toward upgrading opening-up, and promoting high-quality economic development.

China witnessed expanding foreign investment since the reform and opening up, and remains the second largest destination of foreign capital in-flows.

The foreign investment law is a summary of China’s experiences in exploring a legal system for foreign investment over the past four decades and adapts to the demand for development in the new era.

Keeping pace with China’s opening steps, it is also a proactive move to grasp and follow the law of the development of history and time.

The approval provides the world with historic opportunities to board China’s express train of development. Investment environment is like the air, and only clean air can attract more investment.

According to the Doing Business 2019 report released by the World Bank, China moved up 32 spots to the 46th place in the Doing Business Rankings in 2018 compared with the last year.

With greater sincerity, China has attracted a batch of foreign enterprises, including Germany’s chemical producer BASF Group, British Telecom, Exxon Mobil Corporation, BMW, Tesla and Airbus.

It was voted again as the most promising place for business development by Japanese multinational manufacturers in a report by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation.

In January and February this year, 147.11 billion yuan of foreign investment was used by China, growing 5.5 percent. The performance was achieved following the hard-won 3-percent growth of foreign direct investment last year. The above figures indicate that China is still a hotbed for global investment and opportunities.

China, by developing on a high-quality basis and cooperating with the world for win-win results, is attracting worldwide attention, and the newly approved foreign investment law will only expand the focus.

For foreign companies, an open China is the largest attraction, said a manager of a multinational corporation.

The continuous introduction of new opening up measures is the reason for the confidence in China of the international community, and also the charm of the Chinese economy.

(Zhong Sheng, a homonym in Chinese for “voice of China”, is a pen name often used by People’s Daily to express its views on foreign policy.) 

Shanghai builds CIIE into constant trading platform

Shanghai is currently digging more potential of the China International Import Expo (CIIE), turning the 6-day event into an all-year-round trading platform.

The photo shows the exterior of Hongqiao Import Commodity Exhibition and Trading Center. (Photo provided by the Administration Committee of Shanghai Hongqiao Central Business District)

The first CIIE attracted 3,617 foreign exhibitors to Shanghai within only 6 days last November, and generated total trading value of $57.8 billion. To sustain the performance, Shanghai opened an import commodity exhibition and trading center a month after the conclusion of the event, bearing a hope to turn exhibits into commodities.

So far, over 20 commodities that were popular at the first CIIE have been introduced to the Hongqiao Import Commodity Exhibition and Trading Center, including Spanish cured ham, Australian wines and Japanese rice.

The center provides a package of services including bonded exhibition, transaction, logistics and storage, and customs clearance.

Bonded trading has two major advantages when compared with the traditional mode in which duties are usually paid before transaction. On one hand, it enables merchants to pay their duties after the sales, which grants the merchants more flexibility of cash flow by lowering capital occupation; on the other hand, the commodities, if failing to find the proper markets, can be returned to the bonded warehouses and shipped to other destinations without paying duties.

A rice brand from Japan’s Hokkaido witnessed huge popularity at the first CIIE. Its products later completed debut in the Chinese market under the bonded exhibition trading service by Shanghai Pushihui Import and Export Co. Ltd.

Under the innovative mode, the rice is directly transported to a bonded warehouse beside the Hongqiao Import Commodity Exhibition and Trading Center, and duties will be collected at the end of each month after the products are sold. Thus, the price of the rice is 10 percent lower thanks to the cut of cost.

The import commodity exhibition and trading center, as a pilot platform of bonded trading, was established under the cross-department efforts of Shanghai Customs, Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce and the Administration Committee of Shanghai Hongqiao Central Business District.

The platform reviews the information of applying merchants and adopts dynamic supervision, and takes control of the commodity quality through access threshold and withdrawal mechanism.

Furthermore, the platform offers preferential prices of rent, “zero charge” of bonded warehouse and information services, as well as duty-assessment on actual prices, in a bid to save logistics and capital cost for enterprises.

More than 400 brands and 8,000 commodities from over 50 countries have entered the first phase of the Hongqiao Import Commodity Exhibition and Trading Center, according to an official from the Administration Committee of Shanghai Hongqiao Central Business District.

Now the planning of the second-phase project has been completed, and a bonded logistics center for multi-users will be put into use at the second CIIE, the official introduced.

To make full use of the spillover effect of the CIIE, Shanghai is speeding up in building a new mechanism for an open economy at a higher level.

A slew of innovative mechanisms have been rolled out, such as the acceptance of inspection results for imported commodities, the pilot program of overseas pre-inspection for products to be debuted in Shanghai, and the pre-classification mechanism for newly released products.

By doing so, Shanghai aims to build itself into a globally renowned shopping center, a major destination of first launches, a prioritized destination for high-end brands, and a hub for original brands.

In addition, the city has set up relevant standards to attract brands to stage “world debuts” of products and to open world’s first flagship franchises in Shanghai. It enhanced efforts on the protection of trademarks of “first-launch” products, and included qualified brands debuting their products in Shanghai in a key protection list.

Owing to the policies and regulations in the past, time and places of foreign brands’ marketing campaigns and promotions were always limited, which resulted in a weak motivation for internationally renowned brands to debut their products in Shanghai.

To change the situation, Shanghai Landscaping and City Appearance Administrative Bureau opened a “green channel” to build the city into a destination for more “world debut” activities.

Statistics indicated that in 2017, a total of 1,265 domestic and foreign brands chose Shanghai as the place to make the initial launch of their products. The figure doubled between Jan. and Oct. 2018, with 2,890 renowned brands organizing “world debut” activities in the city.

Facial recognition now available at Chinese smart parcel pickup stations

(Photo/Chinanews.com)

Now in China, you can simply stand in front of a self-service parcel pickup machine to allow it to scan your face, and the correct storage cabinet will pop open, allowing you to pick up your online purchases.

Chinese logistics company Cainiao recently announced that facial scanning is now available at all of its parcel pickup stations. This function is hailed as the final piece of unmanned logistics.

“The application of the technology came from the breakthrough made in facial recognition,” said an expert with Alibaba Turing Lab. According to him, outdoor facial recognition requires high adaptability of the devices as the pickup stations must work through the day and night.

Additionally, most of the stations do not have perfect lighting conditions, and a user’s height could also have an impact on recognition accuracy.

“The Cainiao pickup stations have been tested over a million times during the pilot process, and gone through many technical updates,” said Zhao Deshan, senior engineer of the Cainiao smart pickup station program. So far, no mistake has been recorded during the tests, he noted.

Chinese learning leads Italian students into a new world

Studying Chinese is leading students from an Italian Chinese-language international scientific high school into a new world, as the oriental language is opening a new window for them to know more about China.

Students of Italian boarding school Rome Convitto Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele II read a Chinese book. (Photo by Guan Kejiang from People’s Daily)

The Chinese-language international scientific high school, located at the fourth floor of the boarding school Rome Convitto Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele II, is the only public high school that lists Chinese as a compulsory course in Italy. It also has Italy’s largest Confucius Classroom.

Posters made by the students can be seen on the wall of the school corridor. Filling with Chinese culture elements, these posters present a beautiful picture together with the peach blossoms of the schoolyard in early March.

Paolo M. Reale, president of the Rome Convitto Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele II, and eight students of the school wrote a letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping before the Chinese leader’s upcoming state visit to Italy, expressing their willingness to promote friendship between Italy and China.

“The students are eager to share their experiences in learning Chinese language with President Xi Jinping,” said Reale, adding that the students are very enthusiastic about China and its culture.

Immersive learning, summer camps in China and short-term overseas study tours have brought them closer with China, which further increased their passion for the country, Reale told People’s Daily.

In the letter to the Chinese President, the students expressed their willingness to work hard to promote dialogue of minds, cultural exchanges, and mutual learning with their Chinese peers.

Alesslo Treggiari, a fifth-grader from the school and also one of the eight students writing the letter, told People’s Daily that learning Chinese has broadened his horizon, and helped him build the habit of thinking from a global perspective. He plans to come to China for graduate study and work for Chinese enterprises when he returns home.

“Learning Chinese has guided us into a new world,” said Giovanni Stoppoloni, also a 5th-grade student.

He told People’s Daily that he always wanted to know more about China when he learned Chinese.

A student of Rome Convitto Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele II practices Chinese calligraphy. (Photo provided by Rome Convitto Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele II)

Last year, the boy went on a study tour to Shanghai with his classmates and witnessed the development achievements and vitality of the oriental country. He was impressed by the vastness and splendor of the world.

“I wrote a poem for President Xi to share my Chinese learning experiences in the past 5 years. In the poem, I used a metaphor to describe how China adheres to virtuous traditions and sticks to innovative development,” he said. Stoppoloni believes that his future will be closely linked with China.

The Chinese-language international scientific high school under the Rome Convitto Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele II is one of the 6 Confucius Classrooms affiliated to the Confucius Institute at Sapienza University of Rome.

Thanks to the high-quality education, each year half of the school’s students would pass the level 5 exam of the Chinese Proficiency Test even before they graduate.

In the past 10 years since its establishment, the number of students at the high school increased from 28 to over 250 in 5 grades. A total of over 100 students from the school have studied in China self-funded for 6 to 12 months, and about a dozen of the school’s graduates have been admitted to Chinese universities.

“Only by learning languages can the students better understand other cultures,” said Reale, noting that the notion of the high school is to introduce Chinese culture to more young Italians, develop a global perspective for the students and let them become ambassadors of Italy-China friendly cooperation and East-West cultural exchange.

Because of the continuous social and economic development of China, more Italians are willing to strengthen all-round cooperation between Italy and China and make good use of China’s development opportunities to develop themselves, said Reale.

“The young people, by learning Chinese, not only open a window for Italy-China cultural exchange, but also enhance their competitiveness in future career.”

Last Christmas, Reale received an greeting card sent from Shanghai by former Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano. The former diplomat expressed his gratitude toward Reale for making his child fall in love with Chinese culture through learning Chinese at the high school. Alfano’s child later decided to go to China for study.

Reale introduced that Chinese courses were well-received by local people and boosted their confidence. He said the school will actively share teaching experiences with its peers to further promote Chinese teaching in Italy, and make new contribution to Italy-China cultural exchange.

Novel products see opportunity as China upgrades consumption

A futuristic fingerprint lock, software that allows you to unlock your car doors and turn on the AC using your phone, and an intelligent vacuum cleaner… China’s consumption upgrading is driving up a new commerce pattern, with novel products sweeping the Chinese domestic market.

The country has maintained stable and rapid growth in the total retail sales of consumer goods, and consumption has become the most significant driving force of the country’s economic growth for a number of years.

Novel products with new functions and technologies are enriching the supply of the market, enjoying massive popularity among consumers.

According to a report issued by Ali Research Institute under Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, over 75 million consumers on Alibaba’s shopping site T-mall were enthusiastic about novel products, with an average of 17 purchases per person in this category.

Last year, more than 50 million novel products were made available on T-mall, 10 times more than in 2016.

Statistics from Alibaba’s rival Suning also indicated the popularity of novel products. For instance, a smart drier rack that can also sterilize has been sold by over 150 Suning stores, with a monthly sales growth of 300 percent.

The enthusiasm for new products is not exclusive to consumers from first-tier cities. In 2018, over 200,000 major brands released 50 million new products on T-mall, and those living in second-, third- and fourth-tier cities made up nearly 80 percent of total sales.

“New products might mean a large concept, but small innovations usually create huge energy when applied to individual products,” said Fu Yifu, senior researcher from Suning Institute of Finance.

Given the diversified and individualized consumption demands of the Chinese market, opportunities exist everywhere as long as enterprises can find the consumer pain points, Fu added.

China sees high-quality development of digital economy

A 5G-tech promotion stand at the recent China International Import Expo in Shanghai. [Photo by Jin Rong/For China Daily]

According to experts, China’s digital economy is moving into a period of high-quality development as it expands in size, thanks to the rapid growth of innovation in investment, as well as the accelerated construction of new information infrastructures such as 5G technology and industrial internet.

China’s digital economy has grown into a major arena of high-quality development. According to the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), the value of China’s digital economy surged from less than 150 billion yuan ($22.3 billion) in 2002 to 31 trillion yuan in 2018, growing 208 times in 16 years. The compound annual growth of 38 percent is far higher than the GDP growth.

This year, multiple regions of China have issued plans and guidance on digital economy development. Sun Ke, director of the CAICT Digital Economy Research Institute, noted that digital economy development in China features rapid growth, strong impetus, large scale and optimized structure, adding that the next few years would be a critical period for the digital sector.

CAICT statistics indicated that China spent 1.2 trillion yuan on the research and development of the digital economy in 2017, twice the amount of that in 2011.

According to China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, information infrastructure construction is a major focus this year. Previously, the National Development and Reform Commission also said that the department would enhance the development of artificial intelligence, industrial internet, and the Internet of things in 2019.

China currently has 1.31 billion broadband users, and 98.6 percent of its citizens are mobile internet users. It has laid a solid foundation for the future progress of China’s digital economy.

In such a competitive environment, the expansion of mobile internet and broader penetration of internet would gradually create new bonuses for regional digital economy development, said An Hui, deputy chief engineer of the China Center for Information Industry Development.

Have you ever wondered why China builds high-speed railway tracks on bridges?

(Photo/Xinhua)

China is home to 29,000 kilometers of high-speed railway, which has created comfort and convenience for a huge number of passengers.

However, have you ever wondered why most high-speed railway tracks are built on bridges?

Su Wei, the chief engineer of the bridge department under China Railway Design Corporation, recently explained the country’s preference for bridges during the construction of high-speed rail in an interview with Economic Daily.

Bridges account for 88 percent of the mileage of China’s first 350 km/h high-speed rail, and also 86.5 percent of the Beijing-Shanghai High-speed Railway.

Su explained that high-speed railway bridges make sure railway operation is safe, smooth and stable.

Bridges have a considerable advantage in the fact that they occupy much less ground space than subgrade engineering, Su said, adding that China constructed substantial bridges for high-speed rail in the plains to replace subgrade projects – a standard method in common railway lines.

According to Su, bridges are vital in developed regions that are densely populated, as they can save 2.9 hectares of land per kilometer extended.

Additionally, high-speed rail has a high standard for operational conditions, so they must bypass immovable barriers such as buildings. By building bridges, the railway can avoid such areas and lower the space division of cities.

“Now, bridges are often pre-engineered and prefabricated in factories and then transported to construction sites, which helps achieve better quality control and reduces the construction period,” Su noted.

Take a look at China’s “greenest” province

Wuyishan National Park (Photo/Huang Hai)

March 21 marks the International Day of Forests. So today let’s take a look at the forests in China’s “greenest” province.

According to the ninth national check of forest resources, Fujian has ranked first in terms of forest coverage among all Chinese provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions for 40 years. Forests now cover 66.8 percent of the province’s territory.

As China continues its efforts in ecological protection and forestation, Fujian will continue to see a growing percentage of forest coverage, meaning more beautiful scenery is to come.

Wuyishan National Park (Photo/Huang Hai)

Meihuashan Nature Reserve (Photo/Huang Hai)

A forest in  the city of Nanping (Photo/Huang Hai)

Automation improves efficiency for Chinese ports, promotes high-quality development

Automation is turning China’s Port of Qingdao, Shandong Province into an “unmanned terminal”, reducing the pressure on human labor and contributing to high-quality development of the country.

Photo taken on Mar.18, 2019 shows the Huangdao oil terminal and Qianwan ore terminal at the Port of Qingdao and the streets in Qingdao West Coast New Area beside the two terminals. (Photo/People’s Daily Online)

A few years ago, when Wang Yang, a young bridge crane operator started his career in the Port of Qingdao, his daily routine was lifting cargos up and down in a bridge crane 40 meters above the ground. He had to lower his head for a dozen hours each day for operation.

What he endured back then was not only the sweats, but also the loneliness in the operation room that covered less than 3 square meters.

“When can we work with our heads up?” That has been a dream for generations of workers like Wang.

Finally, the dream came true for Wang and his colleagues today. Now the Port of Qingdao has established a fully automated container terminal, where the previous bridge crane operators have turned into “remote monitoring personnel”.

The fully automated Qingdao Qianwan Container Terminal is now a “no man’s zone”. From a 60-meter-high crane, it can be seen that autopilot electric vehicles are transporting cargos in an orderly manner, and the hoisting equipment are operating rapidly at the stacking area automatically.

Wang now works at an office building far from the operating area, and he can finally keep his uniform clean in the new working environment. He has transformed from a manual laborer that had to endure harsh working conditions to an employee that works in front of a computer.

Now, the workload that used to need more than 60 people at a traditional port can be completed by only nine. Thanks to the great changes in the port, the blue-collar workers have become the commanders that control the “brain” of the terminal.

The change of the working content reflects the transformation of the production mode.

The development of ports indicates that in the old days, manpower always had to take the most strenuous part of the jobs, be it loaders or mechanical operators.

However, the situation is totally different today. All the procedures are automated at the unmanned port. An average of 33.1 units can be handled each hour, a performance way better than that of a traditional port.

Photo taken on Mar.8, 2019 shows cargo vessels work at the foreign trade container terminal of the Port of Qingdao, east China’s Shandong province. (Photo/People’s Daily Online)

At present, operation instructions are sent by computers, and tasks completed by robots. What the unmanned port relies on are the new technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), intelligent control, information management, communications and navigation, big data, and cloud computing.

The practice of the Port of Qingdao has demonstrated that container terminals, though long been regarded as a typical traditional industry, can achieve deep integration with new impetus, new technologies, and new forms of business.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee stressed during his visit to the Tianjin port that the city should aim for the far-off future in its efforts to develop the port into a world-class smart and green port, noting that “a country must enhance its transportation, especially sea transportation, before seeking economic development and improvement in national strength.”

While liberating workers from intense physical work is the direct consequence of an unmanned port, the updates of technologies and the improvement in production mode mean more to the port itself.

From physical work to intelligence, and from manual skills to machinery operation, the port’s path to automation driven by scientific and technological development has contributed solutions to the transition in which traditional drivers are replaced by new ones.

Only by fostering new driving forces and upgrading traditional engines to realize self-revolutionary development, can a world-class smart port be built and high-quality economic development realized.

Hard work is the foundation of development and innovation is crucial. More than 40 patents were applied during the construction of the fully automated container terminal. The engineering has proven that the courage and capability to innovate, and to throw off the shackles of traditional knowledge and position are necessities for seeking development, and it’s clear that in order to pursue development, enterprises need to make courageous breakthroughs so as to overtake their competitors.

In February, the Port of Qingdao was invited to attend the Press Conference for the World’s First 5G Smart Harbour during the 2019 Mobile World Congress (MWC) held in Barcelona, Spain. By sharing and promoting its experiences in technology application and smart harbor development, the port won extensive recognition and praise.

During People’s Daily’s interview at the Port of Qingdao, the smart terminal was also visited by a group of artificial intelligence experts from Germany. It is learned that such foreign technological exchanges have already become a routine for the port.

A slogan in the office building of the port says that “innovation defines the future”, which makes the smart terminal more like a tech firm.

Indeed, the evolving technological advances and innovative ideas are what support the attempt of the port to transform labor-intensive production to one that is driven by science and technology. In addition, they are also the source of the port’s tireless exploration of the future

Seeking new possibilities with innovation and intelligence, one will always find a road leading to a better future.

China contributes to Italian port construction for win-win results

Chinese company COSCO SHIPPING Ports Limited is contributing efforts to the construction of an Italian port, lifting capacity for the terminal and creating win-win results, as China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) continues expanding its global influence.

The photo shows a bird’s-eye view the container terminal of the Vado Ligure port. (Photo by Vado Holding B.V)

The Port of Vado Ligure, 140 kilometers away from Italy’s industrial powerhouse Turin and 190 kilometers away from Milan, enjoys ideal geographical location. It is of vital importance for the economic development of northern Italy.

In October, 2016, the COSCO SHIPPING Ports Limited officially joined the construction and operation of a new container terminal at the Port of Vado Ligure, after reaching an agreement with Vado Holding B.V.

The terminal, upon completion, will become Italy’s first automated container terminal, and also the first one built in the recent three decades in the country.

Currently, the construction of the container terminal is in full swing. Gantry cranes and quay cranes have been installed and started operation, and the bridge cranes are also ready for use.

Site manager of Vado Holding Bruno told People’s Daily that nearly 80 percent of the project had been completed, and the first berth is expected to be put into use before the end of this year. “The new terminal will have a quay that is 700 meters long, with an annual handling capacity of 860,000 TEUs,” Bruno said, adding that it can berth the largest vessel in the world.

A constructor (left) receives an interview from People’s Daily at the construction site of the container terminal. (Photo by Vado Holding B.V)  

According to Wang Yuqiu, vice-general manager of Vado Holding, the maximum capacity of surrounding terminals was 8,800 TEUs due to the limited channel depth and headroom. He introduced that the new terminal would be able to berth 20,000-TEU vessels, expanding the original cargo structure of the port that used to center with fruits.

With the inflow of other commodities such as industrial products and daily necessities, the cargo supply structure of the port will be largely diversified, Wang added.

After inspecting at the construction site, Vado Holding’s general manager Paolo Cornetto received an interview from People’s Daily. He said that the advanced equipment and operation system brought by the Chinese enterprise offered powerful technical support for the Italian side to construct its first automated container terminal. The new terminal would create nearly 400 jobs for local community, he added.

Since the start of the China-Italy cooperation, the operation of the Vado Holding witnessed continuous improvement. Last year, the company’s profit went up by 16 percent.

Cornetto was very pleased to see the new development of the company, saying the Chinese management team shared valuable experiences in construction and operation. “We have the same goal, and the cooperation is energetic. Everyone is actively facing challenges and focusing on their jobs,” he said.

“In a sense, the cooperation between China and Italy on the construction of the Vado port is collaboration between the strong, and our clients are also expecting the cooperation to bring new changes to the port,” Cornetto told People’s Daily.

“The BRI enhanced connectivity among countries along the route, and facilitated social and economic development,” said Cornetto, believing that the Vado port would play a more important role in the initiative.

Paolo Emilio Signorini, president of the Port Authority of the Port of Genoa, noted that Chinese investment endowed the Vado Ligure port with a new look. Thanks to the COSCO fleet, more and more cargos were entering the port, which further facilitated the development of local logistics industry, created more jobs, and injected impetus to the economy of Genoa, he said.

“The construction of the Vado Ligure port is an important part to improve the supply chain in northern Italy, Switzerland and southern Germany, and the port will possess a vital strategic position in the Liguria region, greatly improving the efficiency of the terminals.” said Giovanni Toti, president of Liguria.

“We hope to make more contributions to the construction of the Belt and Road,” he told People’s Daily.

The first batch of equipment purchased by the container terminal arrives at the port, December, 2018. (Photo by Vado Holding B.V)

In the future, most of the cargos imported via the Vado Ligure port will be transported by rail to northern Italy, Germany and Switzerland.

“I hope that the port can be connected with the China-Europe freight trains so that the cargos imported via the port can be shipped to central and western Europe, central Asia and China by land. In addition, the cargos transported by the freight service can also be transferred to the port and be shipped to Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco,” Wang told People’s Daily.

If so, the Vado Ligure port will not only serve as a new gate for central and southern Europe, but also a channel to enhance the region’s trade relations with Africa.

Apart from the Vado Ligure container terminal, other ports in Trieste on the Adriatic Sea, in Venice and Ravenna are also beefing up cooperation with Chinese enterprises.

Italy issued its fifth annual report on blue economy last June, pointing out that the transportation route of Asian trade was gradually becoming a leading force for global trade under the promotion of the Belt and Road construction.

The competitiveness of the Mediterranean ports was rising together with their elevating importance, the report said.