Clear Signal of Support in 2024! Greater Support from Shandong and Qingdao to SCODA

2024-03-17 15:38:48 admin source: share:

As a unique national key task, SCODA has undertaken higher expectations from Shandong and Qingdao.


SCODA has been frequently mentioned during the Shandong provincial and Qingdao municipal "two sessions" convened recently.

In the section of the government work report of Shandong Province dedicated to "building a new hub of opening up", SCODA is the first open platform referred to. The report further pointed out that the main tasks of SCODA this year include the introduction of international and domestic first-class development operators, environment construction and functional support, the construction of the SCO International Hub Port, and the "Silk Road E-commerce" Comprehensive Service Base.

This year's work report of the Qingdao Municipal Government focused on improving the capacity of open platforms. The task that came in the first place was "implementing the Opinions on Supporting the High-Quality Development of SCODA issued by the Shandong Provincial Government, delivering substantial and pragmatic results, and improving the reputation and recognition of SCODA".

Prior to the provincial "two sessions", the Opinions on Supporting the High-Quality Development of the China-SCO Local Economic and Trade Cooperation Demonstration Area (hereinafter referred to as the Opinions) was printed and issued by the Shandong Provincial Government. It includes many "substantial financial" supporting policies, such as "encouraging Qingdao and SCODA to jointly establish a high-quality development fund for SCODA, giving play to the role of the provincial fund for shifting driving forces, and supporting the construction of key projects."

The greater support for SCODA from Shandong and Qingdao indicates that SCODA has achieved stage development results on the one hand; on the other hand, it also means that Shandong and Qingdao have higher expectations for the development of SCODA.

The more prominent the development of a place, the more external support it will receive. And stronger support enables stronger momentum for a new round of development, thus creating a virtuous cycle of "development - support - development".

Take the Pudong New Area as an example, which recently received a gift package of supporting policies from the Central Government. With the Implementation Plan for the Pilot Comprehensive Reform of the Pudong New Area (2023-2027) (hereinafter referred to as "Plan"), the Pudong New Area has been endowed with greater rights for reform and development.

Pudong successfully secured the pilot because it has exported a host of replicable reform experience to other parts of China in the past 30 years since its development and opening up, such as setting up the first free trade pilot zone and taking the lead in promoting the paid transfer of land use rights.

Leveraging the institutional advantages as a pilot, Pudong itself has achieved rapid development, and then gained stronger policy support, such as "supporting building a global offshore innovation base in the Lingang New Area of China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone" mentioned in the "Plan".

The 21 substantial measures adopted by Shandong Province to support the high-quality development of SCODA are also spurred by the advantages of SCODA as an increasingly important strategic platform in the province's opening up under the goal of creating a new platform for Belt and Road international cooperation.

In 2023, thanks to the steady growth of foreign trade, both Shandong and Qingdao have made remarkable progress.

Shandong's import and export volume last year reached 3.26 trillion yuan, up by 1.7% over the previous year. Among them, the import and export volume of countries engaged in the Belt and Road development was 1.84 trillion yuan, up by 3.3%, 0.5 percentage points higher than the national data, and the scale accounted for 56.3% of the total import and export volume of the province, with the percentage up by 0.8 points.

Shandong's import and export to the five Central Asian countries, namely the core area of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, increased by 18.1%, which is second only to Central and Eastern Europe (18.6%) among emerging trading markets.

As the location of SCODA, Qingdao is also enjoying the development bonus of SCODA. Last year, the import and export of Qingdao reached 875.97 billion yuan, up by 4.6%, accounting for 26.8% of the total import and export volume of the province, with the percentage up by 0.7 points. Qingdao was praised as "playing a leading role in foreign trade in the 16 cities in the province".

Qingdao's import and export to countries engaged in the Belt and Road development reached 453.17 billion yuan, up by 4.4%, 1.6 percentage points higher than the national data, accounting for 51.7% of the city's total import and export volume.

In the context of an unstable external development environment, Shandong and Qingdao are giving full play to the "unique" national key task of building SCODA to achieve steady and long-term economic development.

Undoubtedly, SCODA is entrusted with the daunting task in this extraordinary period thanks to its efforts.

In order to build SCODA into a comprehensive open platform with international bilateral and multilateral recognition, aiming to serve the local economic and trade cooperation of SCO countries and countries engaged in the Belt and Road development, SCODA aspires to build platforms, link resources and provide solutions.

In this context, a series of pioneering and innovative development achievements have been implemented one after another.

Taking "Credit SCO" as an example, it focuses on the difficulties of credit risk management faced by enterprises in international trade. It is the first cross-border credit service platform launched in China. With the participation of all parties, the functions of the "Credit SCO" cross-border credit service platform have been gradually improved and its effect has been highlighted, substantially promoting the investment and trade facilitation between China and SCO countries.

A set of public data is more evidential:

In 2023, 863 China Railway Express trains (Qilu) were launched in SCODA, up by 11.4% year on year, accounting for 33.6% of the province's total.

These achievements should be attributed to the more prominent nature of public goods at SCODA.

Internationally, heads of SCODA have visited 11 countries including Kazakhstan, and carried out more than 195 foreign exchange activities in 2023. Through the establishment of the SCO Industrial Park Alliance, by the end of 2023, it has established partnerships with 57 industrial parks and institutions in Uzbekistan, Russia, and other SCO countries to jointly maintain the stability of the industrial and supply chains.

Domestically, SCODA has established a regular cooperation mechanism with 18 provinces and cities such as Shanghai, Shaanxi, and Heilongjiang, and has built a coordination pattern "traversing the east and west, connecting the north and south" through the coupling of platforms.

In order to emphasize the attributes of public goods and serve the construction of "four centers and one institute", SCODA has also built "five new cities" including the SCO International City, Airport New City, Hub Port New City, COSMOPlat New City, and Banqiao New City, providing holistic and systematic solutions for the economic and trade cooperation between the SCO and countries engaged in the Belt and Road development.

SCODA has won the support of the Shandong and Qingdao governments successively because it has taken convincing actions.

Recently, An Baisheng, Associate Researcher of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, Deputy Director of the Hongqiao International Economic Forum Research Center, interpreted the Opinions and pointed out that, it represents the determination of Shandong Province to support the development of SCODA, and it also indicates a new phase of SCODA's development.

Various signs show that in SCODA's new stage of development, it is an important action to strengthen the coordination with China (Shandong) Pilot Free Trade Zone Qingdao Area.

On December 31 last year, the principal official of the CPC Qingdao Municipal Committee visited Jiaozhou to inspect the development of SCODA and noted that the strength of the whole city should be rallied to enhance the coordination and promote the collaboration between SCODA and China (Shandong) Pilot Free Trade Zone Qingdao Area and other open platforms, thus accelerating building a new hub of opening up.

Zhang Xinzhu, Member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Qingdao Municipal Committee, and Secretary of the Party Working Committee of SCODA, visited the China (Shandong) Pilot Free Trade Zone Qingdao Area and said that the Qingdao Area boasts the advantages of free trade, while SCODA undertakes the mission of the SCO. The two areas should join hands to further open up, and meet the expectations and requirements of the CPC Shandong Provincial Committee and the CPC Qingdao Municipal Committee for these two high-level platforms.

Meanwhile, Zhang Xinzhu hoped both sides could identify their positioning, leverage advantages, interact and collaborate to realize complementary development and create new competitiveness for opening up.

The Opinions also specifies that:

SCODA should promote collaborative and innovative development with the pilot free trade zone, make every effort to solve the difficulties in practical cooperation, and jointly introduce more innovative measures with customs, taxation, foreign exchange, market supervision, and other departments.

It should also step up the efforts to implement the innovation results of the pilot free trade zone in trade, investment, shipping, finance, and other fields at SCODA.

Gao Yan, Deputy Director of Qingdao Municipal Bureau of Commerce, responsible for the Office of the Municipal Leadership Group of Promoting the Development of the Free Trade Zone, said that in order to continue to enlarge the demonstrative, radiating and leading role of China (Shandong) Pilot Free Trade Zone Qingdao Area, the Bureau and Leadership Group will explore the construction of a collaborative innovation area of Qingdao Area in national functional areas such as SCODA and Qingdao High-tech Zone, and enable the high-level open platforms to better leverage their comparative advantages, and share resources, policies, and collaborative development.

A notice issued by the General Office of the Qingdao Municipal Government at the end of last year also mentioned that 32 institutional innovations achieved by the China (Shandong) Pilot Free Trade Zone Qingdao Area in 2023 will be promoted throughout the city.

Previously, the China (Shandong) Pilot Free Trade Zone Qingdao Area had focused on promoting the coordinated development of cross-border e-commerce in an in-depth manner and took the lead to set up the "Yellow River Basin Cross-Border E-Commerce Alliance" covering 9 provinces and regions along the Yellow River and Xinjiang and Yunnan provinces. And SCODA has launched the construction of the "Silk Road E-Commerce" Comprehensive Service Base. Strengthening the collaboration with provinces and regions along the Yellow River will help SCODA to further expand the development space of cross-border e-commerce.

While strengthening external collaboration, the Opinions also emphasizes the internal integration of existing high-quality platforms to further serve the construction of the "four centers and one institute".

For example, in terms of building a strong regional logistics center, it is mentioned that we should give full play to the important role of the open platform of Qingdao Airport Comprehensive Bonded Zone, make sound use of the policy advantages of taxation, trade control, bonded supervision and foreign exchange, empower the rapid development of international logistics, modern trade, integrated circuits, aviation maintenance and manufacturing, innovative services and other industries in SCODA, and build an aviation industry cluster with SCO characteristics and a two-way advanced manufacturing base.

From the perspective of SCODA, whether it is to meet the need of building a regional logistics center or the objective requirement to further realize the distribution of high-quality resources, it is an important measure for SCODA to achieve high-quality development by giving play to the advantages of the airport as a national open platform.

For building a strong Modern Trade Center, the Opinions highlighted the roles of platforms with stage results, such as the International Energy Exchange, and the SCO Economic and Trade Comprehensive Service Platform. In terms of strengthening the Two-Way Investment Cooperation Center, the first phase of the Haier COSMOPlat Industrial Internet Ecological Park, which has been officially put into operation, was emphasized. With regard to enhancing the Business, Tourism, and Cultural Exchange Center, the China-SCO Institute of Economy and Trade, which has been put into operation, was given a new task to accelerate the operation of its real entity.

This once again proves that to achieve breakthrough development, we must work diligently. Once breakthroughs are made, stronger external support will follow, which will stimulate the momentum fueling a new round of high-quality development.

And Shandong and Qingdao are undoubtedly lending substantial support to SCODA.

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