Yiwu is located in the central region of Zhejiang, a southeastern coastal province of China. It covers an area of 1,105 square kilometers, and has a population of more than 2.2 million. ,2019 UCLG ASPAC Executive Bureau Meeting & Dialogue on International Economic and Trade Cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was held in Yiwu on May 22. An inauguration ceremony of launching UCLG ASPAC Electronic Journal under the framework of BRI was held on the same day successfully. Yiwu joined UCLG in 2017, and was elected as a member of the UCLG ASPAC council in 2018. It has actively taken part in activities of the world cities family, and continuously made contribution to pushing forward connectivity among cities in Asia Pacific regions as well as promoting contacts of international cities.
Chinese President Xi Jinping praised Yiwu as the World’s “Capital of Small Commodities”. Since 2014, Yiwu has integrated itself into great projects of jointly developing “The Silk Road Economic Belt” and “21st Century Maritime Silk Road” , leveraged business& logistics strength actively, committed to exploring “policy coordination, facilities connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and people-to-people bonds” in cities’ self-development and foreign exchanges, and assisted in realizing goals of UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In particular, it upholds that unimpeded trade should become the impetus for regions and cities to tap the trade potential, optimize trade structure and realize sustainable growth. It has explored how to build an trade pillar city cooperation network that links Asia-Pacific region and has a global reach. Yiwu is credited as a “Start-up” city on the “New Silk Road” by some media coverage.
Yiwu International Trade Mart Directly Connects Global Business Community
Yiwu International Trade Mart has been awarded the title of the world’s largest small commodity wholesale market by such important authoritative international organizations as the United Nations, the World Bank, etc. In Yiwu, the market business area is over 6.4 million square meters, with 75,000 booths and shops, selling over 2.1 million types of goods in 26 categories. Every year, there are more than 500,000 foreign merchants visiting Yiwu for procurement; and more than 15,000 foreign businessmen from over 100 countries and regions living here in Yiwu year round. The goods from Yiwu are exported to more than 210 countries and regions in the world, which makes over 65% of the market business foreign-oriented.
In 2018, Yiwu’s total exports was about $36.7 billion, among which $18.1 billion of products were exported to countries along the BRI route, accounting for 49.29 percent of the total exports. Meanwhile, the trade growth of the city has been driven by both imports and the exports. An Imported Commodities City has been established in Yiwu, which has introduced over 100,000 overseas products from more than 100 countries and regions in total. Relying on current trade network, those products are popular all over China, thus realizing “buying from the world and selling to the world”.
“Two Passageways” to Connect the BRI
Yiwu is one of the pioneering cities in opening a China Europe cargo railway service. Compared with other cargo railway service in China, Yiwu-Xinjiang-Europe (YXE) covers the longest route, operates the most running lines and has the highest full capacity load percentage. It extends to 9 directions including central Asia, Spain, Iran, Afghanistan, Russia, Latvia, Belarus, the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic, and covers all the major trading countries and regions along the BRI route. President Xi Jinping praised “Yiwu-Xinjiang-Europe”(YXE) railway cargo service as an important bridge for connectivity of the Eurasian continent and an early achievement of the BRI.
Yiwu is the first inland city in China to be recognized as an international port city by the UNESCAP. It has actively engaged in the construction of “Yiwu-Ningbo-Zhoushan” logistics passageway. By means of highway and railway, Yiwu Port and Ningbo Zhoushan Port have realized integrated development according to “the same policies for the same port”, and created a comprehensive three-dimensional combined transport hub. In December 2018, the rail-sea combined transport train “Yiwu-Ningbo-Zhoushan”, which was fully loaded with products in 47 TEUs, started from Yiwu West Railway Station and was bound for Zhoushan Port in Ningbo. This is another new accomplishment of Yiwu’s full engagement in construction of the BRI.
Overseas Stations as Opening-up Platforms
Yiwu has taken the important task of Zhejiang Province and the Czech Republic’s joint construction of the BRI landmark projects. In January 2018, the preparatory team went to Prague and started to set up a provincial-level overseas economic and trade cooperation area, which involved trade, logistics, e-commerce, start-up incubator, products display, processing and manufacturing, and cultural exchanges, etc. The Belt and Road Czech Station Business Service Park project has started construction by December 2018, and the projects of Freight Station and Logistics Park have been put into operation. All these demonstrated Yiwu’s high speed efforts in constructing the Belt and Road. Besides, Yiwu is planning to buildBelt and Road Stations in Dubai and Africa, in order to create a Zhejiang model of opening-up and win-win cooperation.
Cultural Exchanges to Promote People-to-People Bonds
Yiwu is an international exhibition city. It hosts many professional exhibitions every year, among them, China Yiwu International Commodities Fair, China Yiwu Cultural Products Trade Fair, China Yiwu International Forest Products Fair, China International Tourism Commodities Fair are of the national level. During these exhibitions, it has held a great number of international cultural exchange activities, such as the international children’s art competition exhibition “The Silk Road in Children’s Eyes”, which set up a platform for youth culture and art exchange along the BRI route; it has held cultural events in guest countries of honor, by the Czech Republic, India, Belarus etc., which promoted cultural exchanges and people-to-people bonds along the BRI route.
Since 2018, Yiwu has launched “Run with Yiwu-Global Youth Business Program”, which has trained more than 100 younth from 37 countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, Spain, the Czech Republic, in the fields of international trade, E-commerce, etc. As a result, it has helped young foreigners to work and start business, and share the development opportunities in Yiwu.
Friendship Cities’ Cooperation to Embody New Substance
Yiwu, as a founding member and council member of UCLG ASPAC Belt and Road Local Cooperation Committee (BRLC), has been active in encouraging more than 350 guests to attend 2019 UCLG ASPAC Executive Bureau Meeting & Dialogue on International Economic and Trade Cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative and to have an in-depth discussion about the theme of “ Share Unimpeded Trade Opportunities, Promote Urban Win-win Development “. They finally reached many consensus, and released Yiwu Initiative to advocate strengthening cooperation between cities in economy and trade under the background of globalization. During that time, the opening ceremony of 2019 China Yiwu Imported Commodities Fair and Zhejiang International Friendship Cities Exchange Exhibition also took place, 89 booths in total, providing a new platform of enhancing mutual understanding and mutual promotion for guests from 33 cities and regions in 20 countries. The regional cooperation is carried out by means of demonstrating the city image, sharing friendship cities’ resources, and discussion on economic and trade cooperation. It has made a worthwhile attempt to promote more practical achievements in exchanges among international friendship cities. Yiwu, World’s Capital of Small Commodities on the Belt and Road, embraces your gracious presence！