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(1) Foreign investment
In 2015, 112 new foreign-invested enterprises were approved in Shaanxi, with a contractual foreign investment of USS5.782 billion and an actual utilization of USS4.621 billion, a 10.67% year-on-year increase. Up to 115 Fortune Global 500 companies established facilities in the province. The average investment of foreign-invested enterprises increased. The average total investment of each new foreign-invested enterprise was up to US$41.25 million, representing a 39.5% year-on-year increase. Major investment sources were the Republic of Korea (with a contractual foreign investment of US$3,415 billion), the Hong Kong SAR (with a contractual foreign investment of US$1,327 billion), Singapore (with a contractual foreign investment of US$212 million), and Germany (with a contractual foreign capital of US$294 million).
The province made full use of the driving force of projects of Samsung, provided outstanding services for key foreign investment projects such as Samsung’s capital increment and capacity expansion project and the Samsung SDI power battery project (Phase II), attracting 92 supporting enterprises to settle in Xi’an.
The fifth Shaanxi-Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Economic Cooperation Week achieved remarkable results, with a total of 16 project contracts signed involving a total investment of USS 1.997 billion. The luncheon held at the Boao Forum for Asia 2016 effectively introduced Shaanxi to the outside world.
(2) Overseas investment
In 2015, Shaanxi enterprises set up a total of 69 overseas enterprises. The contractual investment from the Chinese side amounted to US$709 million, up 1.6 times from the previous year. The actual investment was USS666 million, an increase of 47%. Investment mainly went to the United States and the Hong Kong SAR, covering equity M&A, equipment manufacturing, mineral resources, wholesale and retail sales and other fields.
In 2015, policies were put forward to promote the participation of enterprises in the implementation of the BRI. These mainly included the Opinions of the General Office of People’s Government of Shaanxi Province on Further Promoting
Overseas Investment, the Circular of the People’s Government of Shaanxi Province on Issuing the Work Plan to Disseminate Reform and Pilot Experiences of China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, the Implementation Opinions of the People’s Government of Shaanxi Province on Improving Port Work and Promoting the Development of Foreign Trade, the Implementation Opinions of the General Office of the People’s Government of Shaanxi Province on Speeding up the Cultivation of New Advantages in Foreign Trade Competition, the Circular of the General Office of People’s Government of Shaanxi Province on Issuing the 2015 Action Plan for the Implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative, the Implementation Opinions of the General Office of People’s Government of Shaanxi Province on Promoting Innovation-Driven Development of Processing Trade, the Circular of the General Office of the People’s Government of Shaanxi Province on Issuing the 2015 Action Plan for the Implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative, the Implementation Opinions of the People’s Government of Shaanxi Province on Promoting International Production Capacity and Equipment Manufacturing Cooperation, and the Five Measures to Streamline Procedures of Visa and Residence Permit Application for Foreigners.
2) CONNECTIVITY WAS PROMOTED IN AN ALL-ROUND WAY
As a transportation hub connecting the vast hinterland of China with the Eurasian Continental Bridge and the Maritime Silk Road, Shaanxi Province took road-building as a priority in its implementation of the BRI, worked hard to build land, air, and digital silk roads. The land Silk Road is featured by railways and highways and progress was fast. The total length in use amounted to 5,000 kilometers of expressways, and 4,900 kilometers of railroads. The air Silk Road, focusing on the development of intercontinental air routes, achieved a major breakthrough, with direct flights to Moscow, Paris, Osaka, Male, Bali, Almaty and San Francisco launched. There was a total of over 40 international and regional routes, plus intentions reached to open five new routes to Melbourne, New Delhi, Jakarta, Kathmandu and Irkutsk. The province made active efforts to build the “Chang’an" brand for international freight transportation and source goods for departure trains. By the end of June 2016, The Chang’an freight train to Central Asia had run 206 trips with 10,158 trailers and 305,000 tons of cargo. Shaanxi actively promoted the connection of sea and land transportation. It launched Xi’an (Xinzhu)-Qingdao (Huangdao Port) international freight train route, running 23 trains and 910 trailers. The function of Xi’an as an international inland port constantly improved. Xi’an was officially approved as an inland port and given a national code and an international code. It became the first inland departure/arrival port in China. Xi’an Multimodal Transportation Supervision Center was also put into operation. The digital Silk Road, focusing on cross-border e-commerce, will soon be completed. The state-level backbone Internet direct connection point is launched in Xi’an and the pilot program for cross-border e-commerce service was put into operation. Shaanxi also launched the first land-air connection transportation line for cross-border e-commerce
Regional investment analysis report 2015 225 from Amsterdam to Xi'an, which reduced transportation time by two-thirds and cut the logistics cost by a quarter. Regional customs clearance integration has achieved remarkable results. The average customs clearance time for import and export cargo reduced by 50%, and logistics cost was down by 20-30%. In addition, the province set up a direct customs clearance cooperation mechanism with Horgos and Alashankou in Xinjiang in the west, and improved customs clearance cooperation with Shanghai, Tianjin, Qingdao and Lianyungang ports in the east. With these in place, Shaanxi became a connection point of East and West China as well as between inland China and the outside world.
3) INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC AND TRADE COOPERATION DEEPENED
Relying on various international cooperation platforms, Shaanxi increased its efforts to “bring in and go global,” and strengthened exchanges with BRI countries to integrate itself into the global economy faster and better. Efforts were stepped up to build zones for cooperation with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Italy. A batch of supporting enterprises serving Samsung, Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson and other Fortune Global 500 enterprises in the world, settled in the province, and all major projects were in smooth progress. The internationalization of large state-owned enterprises (SOEs) such as Shaanxi Coal and Chemical Industry Group, Shaanxi Non-ferrous Metals Holding Group, Shaanxi Automobile Group, and Shaanxi Fast Auto Drive Co., Ltd., moved forward steadily, and their cooperation with partners in BRI countries deepened in many ways, opening up new space for the overseas development of Shaanxi. The oil refining and chemical plant of Shaanxi Coal and Chemical Industry Group in Kyrgyzstan became the largest investment project in the country, laying a foundation and accumulating experience for the building of three Shaanxi industrial parks in Central Asia and Africa. Shaanxi Province actively explored the markets of Central Asia, organized 30 competitive enterprises to the 13th China Commodities Fair and held the Second Shaanxi Specialty Fair in Kazakhstan. In March 2016, the first return trip of “Chang’an” marked the start of reciprocal trade activities between Shaanxi and Central Asia, and helped Kazakhstan export its commodities to the inland areas of China for the first time ever. In 2015, Shaanxi's overseas investment in Central Asian countries increased significantly, with the contractual investment amounting to US$236 million. The contractual investment to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan were US$121 million, US$107 million and US$92 million, respectively, mainly covering petrochemical, cement and building materials, agriculture and textile industries. By the end of 2015, Shaanxi's investment in major projects in the five Central Asian countries exceeded US$649 million, involving such industries as petrochemical, energy, mineral resources development and building materials. At the same time, Shaanxi Province intensified its marketing efforts in the Republic of Korea, organized 22 key food enterprises to participate in Seoul International Food Industry Exhibition 2015 to promote Shaanxi special food products to the country. The province also organizedenterprises to participate in Xiamen International Fair for Investment and Trade and the China-ASEAN Expo, launched a number of matchmaking events and project promotion activities, and increased economic and trade cooperation with Taiwan of China and ASEAN countries. Up to 194 Shaanxi enterprises had made overseas investment totaling US$2.43 billion in 48 countries and regions, including the United States, Thailand and Kyrgyzstan. The investment went to 15 industries such as equipment manufacturing and mineral resources exploration.
4) RICH ACHIEVEMENTS IN INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION IN
SCIENCE AND EDUCATION
With abundant science and education resources, Shaanxi carried out a series of cooperation in education, technology, industry and other fields with BRI countries. Construction sped up for China Silk Road Innovation Park and the Western China Science & Technology Innovation Harbor Wisdom Uni-Town, which are designed as scientific and technological innovation special zones for international cooperation. The province made technological breakthroughs in cooperation with Central Asian countries in the fields of energy exploitation, fine chemical industry, biomedicine, electronics and information, with the purpose to promote innovation-driven development in the relevant industries. Relying on the Yangling Dryland Agriculture International Cooperation Center, Shaanxi provided technical support for Central Asian countries in the aspects of dry land operation, protected agriculture, green manure planting and the like. The Yangling demonstration zone offered great help in the building of seven cooperation parks in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Australia, the Netherlands and other countries. At present, 124 universities from 30 countries and regions on five continents joined the University Alliance of the New Silk Road initiated by Xi’an Jiaotong University, and embassies of the United Kingdom, Egypt and Iran in China also expressed intention to join or cooperate. Medical institutions in the province carried out joint medical and training programs with Russia, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea and other countries and signed a scientific and technological cooperation agreement with the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences. The transnational cooperation in science, technology, education and related industries became a new highlight of Shaanxi’s opening-up to the outside world.
5) PEOPLE-TO-PEOPLE COMMUNICATION INCREASED
In order to give full play to the advantages of its long-standing friendship with BRI countries, Shaanxi actively inherited histoiy and culture, carried forward the Silk Road spirit, and moved towards openness and inclusion to an unprecedented extent. It held the 2015 Euro-Asia Economic Forum, the 2016 Silk Road International Exposition and the 20th Investment and Trade Forum for Cooperation between East and West China, Statistics Conference of BRI countries, the Forum for Heads of Customs Administrations along the Silk Road, and the 14th Economic
Regional investment analysis report 2015 227 and Trade Ministers’ Meeting of SCO Member States, reaching a series of cooperation intentions and achievements. The Silk Road International Arts Festival and Film Festival, the Thousand Miles on the Silk Road, 2015 Silk Road International Talent Competition for Youth and other events were also held in succession, with increasing scale and influence. Events like Shanghai Cooperation Organization National Commodity Exhibition and the 22nd China Yangling Agri High-tech Fair all performed well and received excellent feedback. Xi’an also hosted the Silk Road International Tourism Expo 2015, attracting government agencies and tourism enterprises from 33 countries and regions and 24 provinces and municipalities and autonomous regions of China. The province also designed more than 20 Silk Road international tour routes linking Xi'an to Rome, Dubai, Istanbul and other cities and put into use the special Silk Road tour trains from Xi’an to Urumqi, which was warmly welcomed by the general public. Exchange of visits and communications between outstanding young civil servants and college students were organized in an orderly manner. A total of 14 new pairs of sister cities and quasi-friendship cities were formed, and the province’s friendship with provinces and states of Central Asian countries and other countries was further boosted.
6) COMPREHENSIVE SUPPORT CAPACITY EFFECTIVELY
In order to advance BRI-related work in an orderly manner, Shaanxi improved its comprehensive support capacity in various aspects, such as policy-making, environment improvement and public opinion guidance. The 2015 Action Plan for the Implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative in Shaanxi Province was issued and implemented, the 72-hour visa-free transit policy was put into effect, and tax refund for foreign tourists was formally approved, making the province the second in West China and the first in Northwest China to offer tax refunds. In addition, the refund rate is 1 percentage point higher than in the other eight provinces and municipalities where a tax refund is applicable, making Shaanxi more attractive to foreign travelers. The official launch of the Shaanxi Belt and Road Language Service and Big Data Platform laid a good foundation for promoting in-depth cooperation between Shaanxi Province and BRI countries. Many financial institutions provided tailor-made innovative services and financing support for Shaanxi enterprises to go global, and the financial service mechanism was gradually improved. At the end of May 2016, Shaanxi Provincial Tax Service, State Taxation Administration, signed tax sendee agreements with eight enterprises, including China National Tobacco Corporation, Shaanxi Heavy Duty Automobile Co., Ltd., and China XD Group Co., Ltd. These represented the first open commitment made by the taxation authorities to going-global enterprises in the form of a service agreement. The province established a platform for promoting cooperation in environmental protection and technology with the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Korea, and carried out cooperation in environmental protection, pollution prevention and control withthe government of Kyoto, Japan. It also held, in succession, large-scale interviews, such as “Chasing Dreams along the Silk Road in Solicitous Shaanxi” Chinese and Foreign Media Interviews, “Shaanxi Trip for the Management of Business News Papers and Media across the World” and the “Shaanxi on the Belt and Road.” The image of Shaanxi as the starting point of the Silk Road was established and polished. The special issue of “Shaanxi: A New Starting Point of the Silk Road” was jointly produced with Ta Kung Pao of the Hong Kong SAR, and a special column “Shaanxi China: The place where the Silk Road starts,” was launched on the website of a Kazakhstan News Agency, which further spread the story of Shaanxi.