Shandong's top officials highlighted the need to seize opportunities arising from the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement and explore new areas for international trade and commerce during the fifth session of the 13th Shandong Provincial People's Congress.
According to this year's Shandong provincial government work report, the province will build an RCEP pilot zone for local economic and trade cooperation in 2021 and launch an RCEP cooperation forum for small and medium-sized enterprises.
Shandong authorities have said that the province will strive to open up more to the outside world, achieve practical results, and steadily expand into international markets.
"Over the next five years, Shandong will continue to strengthen cooperation with countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative and expand local economic and trade cooperation with RCEP members," said a Shandong senior official.
The RCEP agreement, which involves all 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and five of its major trading partners -- China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand, was officially signed on Nov 15, 2020, creating the free trade area with the largest population, largest economic and trade scale, and strongest development potential in the world.
Shandong customs data show that in 2020, Shandong's imports and exports to RCEP member countries were valued at 774.3 billion yuan ($119.71 billion), accounting for 35.2 percent of its total foreign trade.
Last year, Shandong's foreign trade was valued at 2.2 trillion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 7.5 percent. Its actual utilized foreign capital was valued at $17.65 billion, up 20.1 percent.
The province's cross-border e-commerce and market procurement imports and exports increased by 366.2 percent and 84.5 percent, respectively.
The Qilu Eurasian freight train made 1,506 trips, up 43 percent year on year.
Zhang Yibing, deputy director of Jinan customs, said that the situation of the current global pandemic is still uncertain, and the recovery potential of foreign supplies requires further observation.
Zhang added that Shandong customs will speed up preparations for the RCEP agreement to benefit more foreign trade enterprises in the province.