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South Sichuan Port Area of Sichuan Pilot Free Trade Zone: Pursuing Industry Development by Fostering a Sound Business Environment

Embrace all changes as the sea receives all rivers.

On April 1st, 2017, the South Sichuan Port Area of the China (Sichuan) Pilot Free Trade Zone was settled in Luzhou. As of December 2018, there were 2,706 new registered enterprises (5,747 in total), which is 8.2 times that of the original established enterprises.

The South Sichuan Port Area is a pilot program initiated in South Sichuan as an agency to serve the southwest and establish connection with Southeast Asia. At present, 139 out of 141 trial tasks involving the South Sichuan Port Area have been promoted, forming 194 innovative results, and 22 innovative systems in the country. Among them, the “pre-export tax rebates for manufacturing enterprises” was included in the fifth batch of experiences worth emulation and was promoted in the national free trade zones. “The once-for-all errand of governmental services” was promoted by the National Commission of Development and Reform.

Blaze a "nurturing ground" for mechanism innovation by high-speed development

Located in the South Sichuan Port Area of Luzhou City in Sichuan Province, with the Yangtze River running through, a “Golden Port”, accredited as the first port for departure from Sichuan came into being. Situated at the geographical joint of Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou and Chongqing, it serves as an important gateway for the opening-up of the Chengdu-Chongqing urban clusters and as an important fulcrum for the construction of a new inland vantage area.

Keeps our missions in heart and remain true to them. The South Sichuan Port Area has quickly determined the strategic positioning of relying on the Yangtze River and bridging the gap between the east and west through collaborative opening-up and international-oriented view. With institutional innovation as the core, it has launched quick moves in reforms and breakthroughs have been made accordingly. On the first day of its establishment, the first company registered in the South Sichuan Port Area, namely the Huirui Supply Chain Management Co., Ltd. took only 15 minutes. Today, that company's import and export business volume and financial services for the supply chain of intelligent terminals has increased by nearly 10 times. Settling in the free trade zone has become the “driving source” for the development of local enterprises.

In line with the realities of reform, implementation plans will be formulated. The South Sichuan Port Area has explored to improve the environment of innovation and entrepreneurship, renew the mechanism of scientific and technological financial services, and combine global innovation and entrepreneurship elements. That is how the South Sichuan Port Area has worked as a “Test field” for various industries of Luzhou and Sichuan.

Form an "area for attraction" together with open areas

On July 12th, 2018, the first sea-railway train linking Guangzhou and Luzhou arrived at the International Container Terminal of Luzhou Port. Another train of sea-railway intermodal transportation was officially operated.

The resumed flight of Yunlong Airport, the ongoing construction of Chengdu and Chishui land ports, the operating sea-railway transportation, and a series of direct flights engaged in foreign trade with “fixed loading location, fixed route, fixed time, fixed schedule, fixed price” have help to form a driving engine for collaborative cooperation. Up to now, the three-dimensional transportation system of “railway-highway-waterway-airline” in Luzhou has been improved day by day. With the increase of the integration of Luzhou and Yibin, the waterway transportation of Sichuan will present itself as a more strong appeal.

The platforms of mutual management for government services and of the mutual recognition for port supervision have brought along dividends for all cities in south Sichuan thanks to opening-up and free trade. On December 17th, 2018, the Commercial Bank of Luzhou City was successfully listed on the main board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, presenting itself as the first listed prefecture-level bank in the western region. This is not only the fruit of the “Sichuan-Hong Kong-Macao Cooperation Week”, but also the “dividend” arising from the expansion of regional open cooperation in the South Sichuan Port Area and the establishment of office in Hong Kong.

The South Sichuan Port Area solicited the collaboration of Chengdu area to cooperate with the Qingbaijiang Port to create the first supervision and distribution model for parallel vehicle import in the country; It has cooperated with the Shuangliu International Airport to establish a comprehensive service platform for cross-border e-commerce sharing so as to handle cross-border e-commerce customs clearance; It has deepened cooperation with Wuhan and Nanjing along the Yangtze River Port, as well as opened direct flights to Shanghai with “fixed loading location, fixed route, fixed time, fixed schedule, fixed price”, and the direct routes from Luzhou to Incheon, Kobe, Kaohsiung, etc. The train named “Rongou + Luzhou Port” was put into operation. The two-way intermodal water-railway trains from Luzhou to Guangzhou and from Luzhou to Qinzhou have been launched. Through the coordinated opening-up of the South Sichuan Port Area, the trade between Luzhou and even southern Sichuan is deeply integrated into the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and Tonkin Gulf Economical Zone. A new opening-up pattern featuring linkage between land and sea and between the east and the west has gradually taken shape.

At the same time, the South Sichuan Port Area introduced the “zero cost” for customs clearance at ports, the “no rent” for B warehouses, and compensation for the highway tolls of container vehicles in Luzhou Port, as a way to attract goods such as fiberglass of Neijiang, cemented carbide of Zigong and glyphosate of Leshan to enter Luzhou Port.

As the “first port of Tianfu”, Luzhou Port is a water transportation port endowed with excellent natural conditions, large capacities and strong impact. The South Sichuan Port Area should by all means help stimulate the development of Yunnan and Guizhou. Luzhou aims at constructing a gateway of Chengdu-Chongqing urban agglomeration for southward opening-up to enter into contract with Kunming, Zhaotong and Bijie, and to carry out cooperation such as co-process of government affairs, the co-construction of “Flying Park” and the sharing of port logistics. The multimodal transport logistics center and the international commodity trading center were set up. It has engaged into cooperation with more than 30 domestic and foreign shipping companies, such as Mediterranean Shipping and Minsheng Ship Company to ensure the same transportation for domestic and foreign trade, all of which had facilitated trades and exchanges between enterprises.

Building on the natural advantage of Luzhou Port, the South Sichuan Port Area has deepened cooperation with areas along the coasts, rivers and borders. In 2018, Luzhou Port accomplished a container throughput of 570,000 TEUs, a year-on-year increase of 18.5%, accounting for 61% of Sichuan's total throughput of water transportation. The volume of inbound and outbound cargo in Luzhou Port has grown by a large amount.

A new “area for appeal” is being formed in the South Sichuan Port Area with collaborative opening-up. China's top 500 enterprises such as BBK and Wanda have settled in this area, forming six functional areas and nine characteristic industries, including modern service industrial cluster and regional financial service cluster. It has focused on developing modern service industries such as shipping logistics, port trade, education and medical care, as well as advanced manufacturing and specialty industries such as equipment manufacturing, modern medicine, food and beverage, which have made a great contribution to the development of industries worth three billion yuan in Luzhou City.

Constantly improve the port’s function as a "test field" by platform construction

At present, with the successful establishment of Luzhou Port Bonded Logistics Center (Type B), temporary open ports, and designated ports for imported grain, relying on the three-dimensional transportation system of “waterway-highway-railway-airline”, the transportation cost has been further reduced. The direct connection with the trade elements of South Sichuan, western Chongqing, eastern Yunnan and northern Guizhou have been established through platforms. All was done to promote regional economic and social development.

At present, the inspection site for the imported meat of Luzhou Port has passed the pre-acceptance, and the estimated overall cost per ton can be reduced by 500 to 1,000 yuan. It is expected that citizens of Luzhou and its surrounding areas will be able to consume cheap imported meat in the near future, and that the lack of meat supply in the Sichuan and Chongqing markets will also be addressed.

In order to meet the needs of the port and other talents, the South Sichuan Port Area has established a unified administrative law enforcement system and organizational management structure, and promulgated the Management Measures for the South Sichuan Port Area of China (Sichuan) Pilot Free Trade Zone, Twelve Measures to Attract High-Level Talents, Ten Incentive Measures for Talents in Urgent Need and for Practical Purpose, Working Methods for Attracting High-end Overseas Talents to improve the basic institutional system and regulatory framework in South Sichuan Port Area. It has formulated a preferential treatment policy of “two exemptions and three reductions”. As a result, 21 human resources enterprises such as Risfond were introduced to contribute to the model of “government providing support and services to enterprise” to ensure the flow of human resources. At present, more than 300 talents in finance, trade, and logistics have been introduced. The talent pool has added up to more than 1,300, forming 486 organizations with “new economic and social institutions”.

The South Sichuan Port Area is accelerating its declaration of these open ports such as the comprehensive bonded zone, the national open port, the cross-border e-commerce comprehensive pilot zone, and the comprehensive trial zone for inspection and quarantine, so that the new “port mode” will ensure greater development of Luzhou City, thus bringing more benefits to Luzhou and its surrounding areas such as the Sichuan-Yunnan-Guizhou economic circle.

Positioned at a new starting point, the South Sichuan Port Area, the “test field” of Sichuan Province, has trained on promoting “high-quality development” and on making the three industries worth hundreds of billion bigger and stronger.

 

 
 
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