The first cross-border e-commerce train left Alashankou Port. (PHOTO: Xinjiang Railway)

China has been Uzbekistan’s largest trade partner since the establishment of the China-Uzbekistan comprehensive strategic partnership in 2016.

On February 27, a fully loaded freight train set off from Alashankou Port in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region bound for Uzbekistan. This is the first cross-border e-commerce train launched after Alashankou city was approved as a comprehensive pilot zone for cross-border e-commerce.

The commodities aboard included solar energy components, steel accessories, clothes, textile supplies, and other goods manufactured in Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces and other regions, with a total product value of 5.59 million RMB (about 884,354 USD).

In order to ensure the rapid customs clearance of cross-border e-commerce trains, Alashankou Customs established a green channel, providing clearance services 24/7 throughout the process.

He Bin, assistant general manager of the freight company for this cross-border e-commerce train, said they will continue to increase investment in the construction of the core area, to build an international logistics channel along the Silk Road and the new Silk Road Economic Belt.

Official data shows Alashankou Port, also known as Alataw Pass, has exported a total cross-border e-commerce trade volume of about 1.6 billion RMB as of February 26.

As a new form of foreign trade with great potential, cross-border e-commerce is developing rapidly. According to the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), China’s cross-border e-commerce imports and exports climbed 15 percent year-on-year to 1.98 trillion RMB (about 311 billion USD) in 2021, with pilot zones playing a significant role in spurring the growth.

Wang Kaixuan, director of the department of Eurasian affairs at MOFCOM, said China-Uzbekistan e-commerce has broad prospects and is expected to become a new growth point for practical bilateral cooperation in the future.

Trade between China and Central Asian nations has grown more than 100-fold in the past 30 years. China is willing to work with the five countries in Central Asia to enhance cooperation and bring economic and trade cooperation to a new level, according to Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao.

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