IV. Opening up and International Cooperation
The Chinese government proactively enhances its connectivity with the world community, continuing to open up to and deepening its cooperation with the rest of the world. An all-dimensional, multi-layer and multi-channel framework has been formed in transport as regards opening up to the outside world and international cooperation.
- International Passenger and Freight Transport
Strengthening international connectivity. By the end of 2015, China had established railway connections with five of its 14 neighboring countries, with 11 railway crossing points. Multiple container trains operate on railways to Central Europe and Central Asia; highway crossing points in border areas, open around the year, are connected to roads at Grade II or above; and a group of logistics parks and cargo operation centers capable of handling international logistics have been put into use. China actively promotes international and regional cooperation in shipping, and is jointly pushing forward the navigation development of the Lancang-Mekong River with Laos, Myanmar and Thailand. Through code-sharing, airline alliance, joint operation of air routes and equity cooperation, China’s civil aviation is striving to improve its international flight network, increase the number of flights and expand its operational scope. In 2015, Chinese express delivery services extended their networks overseas, with 430 million items of mail delivered to international destinations as well as to Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. At the same time, China is strengthening cooperation with countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, actively pushing forward the interconnectivity of transport infrastructure and enhancing transport convenience. In 2015, Chinese citizens made some 120 million trips overseas via various means of transport.
Supporting foreign trade. China is a major trading nation, and the quickened development of its transport provides a strong basis for building a new multi-dimensional structure of opening up and for enhancing China’s competitiveness internationally. An important pillar for developing an export-oriented economy, China’s maritime transport carries 90 percent of the country’s foreign trade cargo, 98 percent of imported iron ore, 91 percent of imported crude oil, 92 percent of imported coal and 99 percent of imported grain. Trains between China and Europe have become an important component of international through freight traffic.
- International Exchanges and Cooperation and Opening up
Actively participating in international affairs. The Chinese government has always valued the role of and actively participated in the activities of international transport organizations. It takes measures to fulfill its obligations, and plays a constructive role in the Organization for Railway Cooperation (OSJD), International Maritime Organization (IMO), International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Universal Postal Union (UPU) and other important international transport organizations. As a founder of the OSJD, China has made great contribution in formulating the organization’s various standards and regulations. China has served as member of both the UPU’s Postal Operations Council and Council of Administration since it resumed its legitimate seat at the organization in 1972. It has been elected 14 times as a category-A member of the IMO Council since 1989, and five times as a category-A member of the ICAO Council since 2004. China actively promotes bilateral and regional cooperation. It has signed intergovernmental agreements and bilateral and regional documents on railway, highway, maritime transport, civil aviation and postal service cooperation with more than 100 countries. Several transport cooperation mechanisms have been set up, such as the China-ASEAN and Shanghai Cooperation Organization transport ministers’ meetings, and a proposal has been made by China to establish a seaport service organization for APEC. China actively fulfills its international obligations, supports the transport development of other developing countries, and has aided the construction of a series of transport projects in Asia and Africa.
Continuing to expand the scope of opening up. The transport industry was one of China’s first industries to open to the outside world. In 1979, the China Merchants Group, then under the administration of China’s former Ministry of Transport, founded the Shekou Industrial Zone in Shenzhen, taking the first step in the country’s opening-up initiative. In 1984, the Chinese government opened 14 coastal cities, and coastal ports became windows opened to the rest of the world. Today, in the area of transport infrastructure, except railway arteries and civil airports, all highways, bridges, ports, other types of railways and urban rail tracks are open to foreign capital as far as construction and operation is concerned. There is no limit on foreign capital for transport services such as highway freight, international container multimodal transport, and supporting services for international maritime transport.
Quickening the pace of Chinese enterprises’ “going global.” China has exhibited a strong competitive edge in the areas of railway building, transport projects and port operation. China transports one third of the total global maritime cargo. China’s transport businesses are quickening their steps of “going global,” and are transforming themselves from traditional labor export and project contracting entities to exporters of capital, technology, management and standards in the areas of transport infrastructure, port operation, ocean transport, transport equipment, ship inspection and maritime training.