Ten years ago the Chinese government began the Western Development Program, which covered 11 administrative units including Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China.
The strategy was to boost the region's growth. Over the past ten years the region increased its external trade turnover and volume of foreign investments. Nur Bekri, Chairman of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region told about it in an interview with Kazinform.
Does the China's Western Development Program promote development of trade-economic relations between Xinjiang and Central Asia?
Due to implementation of the strategy of large-scale development of western regions of China, Xinjiang has seen the dynamic development of foreign trade. For the first time ever its volume rose beyond USD 20 billion in 2008. It made USD 22.21 billion that is 62% more as compared to 2007. Such growth rates were 44.2% above the national average.
The Chinese Central Government pays much attention to the development of Xinjiang's good neighborly relations with Central Asian states. The issue of stimulation of trade-economic relations between Xinjiang and its border states was on the agenda of the Communist Party of China working sitting in May 2010. In general, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has a solid foundation for cooperation with Central Asian countries. The planned investment projects will allow to deepen our interaction. We also plan to develop cooperation in scientific-technical, cultural and educational spheres.
Besides, we have two special economic zones Kashgar and Khorgos that serve a platform for deepening trade-economic relations with Central Asia and access to the markets of the Middle East and Eastern Europe.
What is the level of border trade between Xinjiang and Kazakhstan? How will the Customs Union influence the volume of foreign trade between them?
Kazakhstan and China are good neighbors, friends and partners. Xinjiang is the only province of China that borders Kazakhstan. I would like to emphasize that Kazakhstan is its main trade partner. The volume of foreign trade turnover amounted to USD 22.2 billion in 2008.
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The efforts of Kazakhstan and China are aimed at strengthening multilateral cooperation. The culture, language and traditions are the areas of common interest for the peoples of Xinjiang and Kazakhstan. We intend to develop relations with Kazakhstan in various spheres.
The establishment of the Customs Union between Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus will not affect our trade-economic interaction.
Khorgos Special Economic Zone will be China's 'window to the west'. The construction of the complex in China will be finished till the end of the year. Next year it will operate at full capacity.
Thank you for the interview.