Scenery near Arxan Port bordering Russia in Inner Mongolia autonomous region [Photo/VCG]
North China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region is about 2,400 kilometers in straight line distance from west to east, bordering Mongolia and Russia. It is also adjacent to eight provinces spanning China’s northeastern, northern and northwestern parts, including Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning and Shanxi provinces. With such geological location, along the region’s border line of 4,200 km, total of 19 national-level border ports have been established – the most in the country.
Establishment of the ports is a response to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the construction of Russia-Mongolia-China economic corridor. The ports have played a key role in the development of border trade, furthering to help expand North China’s opening-up.
In history, border trade in the region can be dated back to the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 24) when the old Silk Road was established, connecting China to countries in middle and western Asia. The region now still restores the extant largest ancient ruins of the Old Silk Road – Heicheng town ruins in Ejine Banner.
Scenery at Heicheng town ruins in Ejine Banner [Photo/VCG]
Since 1947 when the autonomous region was officially established, cooperation with Mongolia in the sector has seen a rapid increase, especially between 1952 and 1962 when a series of cooperation agreement were signed.
In the early of 1982, Inner Mongolia started border trade businesses with Soviet Union after the approval of State Council. In 1992, Manzhouli and Ereenhot were listed by the State Council among 14 border cities opening to the outside.
Till now, 19 ports have been built in 14 border cities or banners and Hohhot in the region. Among them, six borders Russia, including the ports of Manzhouli, Shiwei and Heishantou; 10 borders Mongolia, such as the ports of Ereenhot, Ceke and Arxan, as well as three international airport ports in Hohhot, Hailaar and Manzhouli. The ports in Manzhouli and Ereenhot as two largest ports of their kind in China lead the development of other ports.
According to Manzhouli Customs, in Jan-Aug 2018, the export-import trade to BRI countries through the autonomous region’s ports received value totaling 86.64 billion yuan ($12.6 billion), accounting for 83.1 percent of the region’s total. August saw export-import value of 9.1 billion yuan, an increase of 6 percent year-on-year.
Lights illuminate Russia-style buildings in Manzhouli, pictured on July 19, 2018. Manzhouli, which borders Russia and Mongolia, is one of the largest port cities in China. [Photo/VCG]
Border trade in Inner Mongolia can be divided into three phases. The first phase is from 1983 to 1987. During the period, border trade is monopolized by only one State-owned firm with export/import value worth $1.1 million in 1983 and $46.92 million in 1987, ranking first among other border regions and provinces.
The second phase is from 1988 to 1993 when border trade businesses had a leapfrog development with the participation of more border trade and export firms. During the period, the export/import value also increased from $116.88 million to $772.03 million.
The last phase is from 1993 to present. Experiencing the restoration period between the end of 1993 and 1995, border trade in the region was in bloom. The cooperation mode with Mongolia and Russia was also developed from single barter trade to a comprehensive pattern, involving liquidation trade and cooperation in economy and technology.
Copyright©2020 China Daily. All rights reserved.