silk road hub or tax haven? china\'s new border trade zone may be less than it seems
At the China-Kazakhstan border, the international free trade area has become a showcase of the \"Belt and Road\" initiative signed by Chinese President Xi Jinping, which aims to promote global trade and commerce by improving infrastructure and connectivity.
Chinese state media are filled with reports of the astonishing success of Horgos, China\'s youngest city on the New Silk Road.
Last month at the Belt and Road summit in China
This is the biggest diplomatic event this year.
Promotional videos on the booming economy of Horgos are circulating in the news center.
But Chinese business owners and potential investors who have recently visited China --
Hahaha holgos International Border Cooperation Center (ICBC)
He told Reuters they were disappointed by the disconnect between hype and reality.
Horgos is not a vibrant 21st century trading station in Beijing\'s grand vision, but a reputation for developing China\'s own tax haven.
\"We were so impressed by what we saw that after watching it for three hours, we turned around and drove straight back to Urumqi for eight hours, A businessman from the capital of Xianjiang, a remote part of western China, said that due to the sensitivity of the topic, he only wanted to say his surname, Ma.
Several business owners agreed with Mr. Ma\'s poor design and low number of visitors, who visited holgos to investigate the feasibility of opening a senior hotel. end clubhouse.
\"You let Kazakh farmers walk around with plastic bags full of cheap Chinese T-shirts
You want me to open a club for government officials and businessmen to meet in this area
By the way, you can\'t drive in, and you don\'t have five. star hotels? ” Ma said.
There are five shopping malls selling cheap consumer goods along the Chinese border, but traders complain that tourists are not enough.
Ma ying-jeou, 56, said: \"Sometimes I will sit here all day without doing any sales . \" He has a market stall selling clothes.
\"Some Kazakh people are rich, but most of them are poor.
They come to bargain for 20 yuan ($2. 93)t-shirt.
\"More than five years after five years.
The three-square-kilometer trade area has been opened, and most areas on the Kazakh side are still empty.
Ravil Budukov, ICBC\'s press secretary in Kazakhstan, said only 25 of the 63 projects in Kazakhstan had investors. About 3-
He added that 4,000 people enter from Kazakhstan every day, and about 10,000 people come from China.
The governments of Xinjiang and Horgos declined to ask officials to comment on the article to Reuters.
Huang Sanping, a senior government official in Xinjiang, told Reuters at a news conference in Beijing that he had just concluded his visit to Horgos, which \"performed very well \".
It is full of vitality and prosperity \".
Beijing has given Horgos a lot of tax relief and preferential policies, hoping to stimulate the growth of Xinjiang, a strategic border town, which is a key link in the New Silk Road between China and Central Asia, the government says it is working hard to defeat Islamic extremism.
According to the Horgos tax bureau, 2,411 companies registered in Horgos last year took advantage of five years without corporate tax, plus five years to pay half of the tax rate.
According to Meng Shen, director of Chanson & Co, Beijing boutique investment bank, at least half of the companies are registered in Horgos for tax purposes only.
Guan Xuemei, who runs smoothly in China, said that Chinese celebrities have chosen to register production companies in Horgos, where more and more financial services and IT companies are also registered, A tax consultancy that recently opened an office there.
But because there is no obligation to do business in Horgos or even Xinjiang, experts say, the policy is unlikely to create jobs, and it is unlikely to bring money to areas where the economy has been stagnant for a long time.
\"In theory, this is a good policy because it is designed to stimulate the local economy,\" Shen said . \".
\"But Beijing has not taken into account the fact that many companies do not actually want to operate from Horgos, which is far from the center of the Chinese economy.
Those who trade in the \"free trade zone\" find that they face restrictions on both sides. The Russian-
Eurasian Economic Union (EEU)-
Ha is one of them.
The import of Kazakh traders is as high as 50 kg (110 lbs)
Tariff on any goods per month-free.
Many foods are prohibited from being imported in China.
Kazakh goods most wanted by Chinese consumers worried about domestic food safety --
And hat traders from 8,000 yuan ($1,175)
The value of goods every day.
\"The Eurasian Economic Union is a big obstacle because Russia, Kazakhstan and other Central Asian countries want to develop their own industries and they don\'t want to rely on cheap Chinese goods all the time, A former Chinese government official who declined to be named turned a businessman.
The 44-year-old Mao Shishi, currently raising cattle in the nearby Clear Water River, wants to import wild herbs from Kazakh wool and traditional Chinese medicine through holgos.
\"I am watching and waiting for any policy changes.
Now, we can\'t import lamb, fish or wild herbs from China . \"
Plans to develop a parallel special economic zone in Horgos
As far as the Kazakh side knows --
As a logistics hub, it seems to have achieved greater success.
Trade volume is Sky price
At the port of holgos in Kazakhstan, container cargo was unloaded from Chinese trains and Kazakh trains because of different tracks.
\"According to our plan, this year we will
Asset Seisenbek, head of business at Khorgateway Gateway, said: \"About 100,000 boxes, five times what we are now . \" He was referring to \"20-
FT equivalent unit \", Industrial measurement based on standard container size.
Electronics giants Hewlett-Packard and Foxconn both ship goods through land ports, which are faster than shipping but cheaper than air.
According to Seisenbek, a container shipped to Europe is about three times cheaper than a railway, while air freight is five to ten times more expensive.
Last month, China\'s COSCO Shipping and Lianyungang ports took a 49% stake in Port holgos, which Seisenbek sees as an opportunity to attract more Chinese companies.
According to Ma, this investment is the responsibility that Horgos/Horgos should bear, and the businessman is not interested in the international free trade area.
\"If interstate trains and roads take off, the free trade zone doesn\'t need to be that successful,\" he said . \".
\"In the grand scheme of things, this is the main role of this part of the world. ” ($1 = 6.