Dalian, as the connecting point between Northeast China and Japan, South Korea, Russian Far East and Southeast Asia, plays an important role in the economic development of northeast China and even the whole country. Recently, on the coming occasion of the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up, a reporter from Hong Kong Business Daily had an exclusive interview with Tan Chengxu, Mayor of Dalian, and asked him to talk about the process of reform and opening-up in Dalian and share his unique thoughts on Dalian's reform and opening-up in the new era with readers at home and abroad.
The reporter of Hong Kang Business Daily, Wang Liyan(shorted as: Miss Wang) Tan Chengxu, Mayor of Dalian(shorted as: Mr. Tan)
Miss Wang: In the past 40 years since the reform and opening-up, could you please share with us some remarkable achievements that Dalian have made in terms of its open layout, fields’ level and the development of open economy?
Mr. Tan: Dalian grew and develop owing to internationalization. Opening is its greatest strength and greatest feature. Since the reform and opening-up policy has been conducted for 40 years, Dalian, as one of the first open coastal cities in China and the leading head of northeast China's opening-up, has been on the forefront of China's opening-up. Especially since the Eighteenth CPC National Congress, under the guidance of the Belt and Road initiative, Dalian is deeply integrating into the global economic tide and trying to be the bridgehead and main force of opening- up.
Now, Dalian has become one of the cities with the most and the most type of open function zones among the sub-provincial cities. It has three national development zones including Dalian Economic-technological Development Area, Changxing Island Economic-technological Development Area and Lushun Economic-technological Development Area. And Dalian Bonded Zone and Dalian Export and Expressing Zone, respectively, are the first bonded area and the first export processing zone in Northeast China. Dayaowan Bonded Port is the only bonded port in Northeast China. What’s more, Dalian High-tech Zone is the first batch of national high-tech industrial park. Jinshitan National Tourism Resort is the first batch of AAAAA-level scenic spots.
In terms of "bringing in", the actual utilization of foreign capital has jumped from 48,000 US dollars in 1984 to 3.25 billion US dollars in 2017, with a total of 18,803 foreign-invested enterprises approved and 10,910.7 billion US dollars was used actually. 114 world’s top 500 enterprises and 267 investment projects have been successfully introduced. In the aspect of "going out", more than 750 enterprises have been set up in more than 60 countries (regions) by means of new establishment, merger and acquisition or participation in shares and the total turnover of foreign contracted projects has been nearly 6.6 billion US dollars. The export market covers more than 200 countries and regions around the world. In 2017, Dalian completed more than 410 billion yuan of foreign trade imports and exports, nearly half of the northeastern three provinces of China.
Comply with the trend of reform and opening-up
Miss. Wang: What major opportunities and challenges have been in the history of Dalian's reform and opening up? How did Dalian seize opportunities?
Mr. Tan: In 1984, Dalian was designated as one of the first batch of coastal open cities by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council, and the first national economic and technological development zone was approved, which opened the curtain of Dalian's opening-up and accelerated its economic growth. During the 8 years between 1984 and 1992, Dalian's GDP increased by 3 times. During this period, Dalian was approved as a Chinese Independent-Plan City and pilot city of comprehensive reform of the economic structure. In 1992, after South Talk and the 14th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the Dalian Municipal Party Committee and the Dalian Government put forward the idea of "Evaluating Dalian Beyond It " and set up a new concept suitable for the market economy. Consequently, the quality and efficiency of development have been greatly improved. In the 20 years from 1992 to 2012, the GDP of Dalian increased by nearly 25 times, 166 times that of 1978.
In October 2003, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council put forward in Some Opinions on Implementing the Strategy of Rejuvenation Other Old Industrial Bases in Northeast China that we should try to build Dalian into an important international shipping center in Northeast Asia with full use of the existing port conditions and advantages in Northeast China; and then it was twice proposed to speed up the construction of Dalian International Shipping Center. Dalian has done its best to speed up the construction of the international shipping center for achieving its mission. The port planning system of "three cores and two wings" has been constructed. The harbour has 222 production berths. Dalian Port has established commercial and trade exchanges with more than 300 ports in more than 160 countries and regions in the world. More than 98.5% of foreign trade containers, 100% of commodity vehicles and more than 60% of imported crude oil in Northeast China are transported from Dalian Port. In 2017, Dalian Port ranked sixteenth among the world ports. Dalian Airport ranks first in Northeast China in terms of route network density and flight accessibility, with 17.5 million passenger throughput completed in 2017.
In 2009, Dalian firmly grasped the two strategic opportunities of the revitalization of the northeast old industrial base and the development and opening-up of Liaoning Coastal Economic Zone, and earnestly shouldered the heavy responsibility to develop and construct the coastal economic zone. In 2017, Dalian's 19 key coastal economic zones, with an area of 12% of the city, created a contribution rate of more than 50% to the city's economic growth and accounted for more than 60% of Liaoning Coastal Economic Zone in terms of fixed assets investment and other major indicators.
In 2013, President Xi Jinping proposed the Belt and Road initiative to the world, which brought a golden opportunity to the revitalization and development of Dalian. Dalian actively integrates and participates in the construction of the Belt and Road initiative, and promotes the level of open cooperation comprehensively. And it has formed initially an international logistics channel linking Eurasia, Liaoning, Europe and Liaoning. The opening of a number of China-Europe transit liners truly achieves seamless connection between the sea and rail, and container volume increased by 150% annually. Equipment manufacture industry and other advantageous industries have made great progress to "go out", which build the strategic fulcrum of Liaoning’s development strategy, "1000 Important Enterprises Go Abroad" . Since 2013, Dalian enterprises have invested 54 projects in the area along the Belt and Road, and the total investment of the Chinese side has reached US $950 million. By the end of 2017, Dalian enterprises had built more than 30 overseas warehouses. The total volume of import and export trade with countries and regions along the Belt and Road is 27 billion 820 million yuan. It also successfully hosted the 6th Summer Davos annual meeting. There are more than 53 R & D projects in cooperation with Russia, Ukraine, Israel and other countries. At the 2018 China International Patent Technology and Products Fair, the international cooperation exhibition area of Belt and Road" attracted 400 international core patent technology achievements from 26 countries and regions. Dalian plays an important role in the construction of the Belt and Road.
On March 31, 2017, the State Council issued General Plan of China (Liaoning) Free Trade Pilot Zone. The same year on April 10th, China (Liaoning) FTA Pilot Area Dalian Area officially launched. Dalian promotes the construction of Liaoning Free Trade Zone in Dalian in high standards, adhere to the system innovation as the core, to create a commanding height of opening up. From listing to the end of September this year, there are more than 11000 newly registered enterprises in Dalian, with registered capital of more than 140 billion yuan.
Jinpu New Area becomes a powerful engine of economy.
Miss. Wang: Throughout the history of reform and opening-up in Dalian, it can be said that Dalian has a vigorous history of holding high the banner of opening-up, promoting reform with the help of opening-up, and invigorating by opening-up. Among them, Jinpu New Area is of attention. Can you tell us more about the growth track of this area?
On October 15, 1984, the Dalian Economic and Technological Development Zone with the reputation of Shenzhou First Development Zone was officially laid the foundation. Dalian Free Trade Zone was established here in 1992. The special customs supervision policy at home and abroad has made Dalian and the northeast hinterland better integrated into the world economy. In October of the same year, the State Council approved the establishment of a national tourist resort at Jinshi beach. In April 2000, the State Council approved the establishment of Dalian Export Processing Zone, which is one of the first 15 export processing zones in China. In April 2010, the Dalian Municipal Party Committee and the Dalian Municipal Government started the reform of the new urban management system. Jinzhou New Area, Dalian Bonded Area and Puwan New Area formed the pattern of three supports in the new urban area of Dalian. In June 2014, the State Council agreed to set up the first state-level new area in Northeast China, Dalian Jinpu New Area. In August 2015, the Party Committee and the Administrative Committee of Dalian Jinpu New Zone were officially listed.
At present, the Jinpu New Area is the region with the highest degree of openness, the largest concentration of modern industries, and the best management system in line with international practices in Northeast China. Nearly 60,000 Chinese and foreign enterprises have invested in this area, including more than 5,000 foreign-funded enterprises from more than 70 countries and regions in the world, and nearly 100 projects invested by the top 500 enterprises in the world. In 2017, the Jinpu New Area achieved a regional gross domestic product of 210 billion yuan, and it became a powerful engine to promote the economic development of Dalian.
Step in the new era confidently and continue to write new gorgeous chapter
Miss.Wang: As the pioneer and leader of the Northeast opening-up, how can Dalian set foot on the new era and write the new gorgeous chapter of reform and opening-up?
Mr. Tan: President Xi Jinping has been highly concerned about the development of Northeast China and has high expectation for Dalian. At the end of August 2013, he pointed out during his inspection in Liaoning that the leading role of Dalian, Northeast Asia International Shipping Center, International Logistics Center and Regional Financial Center, should be highlighted, and the pioneering area of industrial structure optimization and economic and social development should be further built. On September 28 2018, President Xi Jinping put forward "six key tasks" at the forum on promoting the revitalization of the Northeast in depth, aiming at directing and steering comprehensive revitalization of Northeast China. This will stimulate Dalian up to a new leve of reform and opening-up.
Dalian will adhere to the guidance of Xi Jinping's socialist thought with Chinese characteristics in the new era, thoroughly implement the spirit of the Nineteenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China, comprehensively promote the overall "five-in-one" layout and coordinately promote the strategic "four-in-all" layout, persistently implement the new development concept, and revitalize the important speech spirit and the "fou efforts" of President Xi Jinping. Force "three advances" to promote demand, adhere to open development, and accelerate the formation of a new pattern of comprehensive opening-up. First, deeply integrate into the "Belt and Road" construction. Second, we should promote the development and opening of the coastal economic belt with the help ofservice. Third,we will improve the quality of open economy. Fourth, we will promote the construction of free trade port. We will strive to create a new opening-up highland with a higher level of openness, a better business environment and a stronger radiation effect, promote the construction of Dalian's "two precursors" and continue to write the new chapter of Dalian's reform and opening-up.