World / China-Vietnam

Booming trade benefits China, Vietnam

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-11-05 18:53

NANNING - When Xiang Jiancheng started doing business in Dongxing two decades ago, trade in the China-Vietnam border city was still lukewarm.

"Only a few Chinese vendors filled the small markets in Dongxing back then," said the 49-year-old Dongxing resident in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. "If you wanted to buy Vietnamese products, it was basically the Chinese vendors who bought commodities in Vietnam and sold them in Dongxing."

These days, however, more than 10,000 Chinese and Vietnamese walk across the border bridge every day to do business in bustling markets on both sides.

Cross-border business between China and Vietnam is on the rise after years of development. As Chinese President Xi Jinping started this week his first state visit to Vietnam in a trip set to open up new prospects for China's relations with the country, local business people and experts are hoping that there will be more favorable polices.


Border trade between China and Vietnam has grown thanks to government support.

China allowed border residents to conduct small-scale cross-border business in the 1990s, fueling a trade surge in border areas.

In Dongxing, the border trade zone has grown into the biggest of its kind in China, with more than 10,000 people selling seafood, agricultural products and clothes there each day.

Chinese living in the border area can buy up to 8,000 yuan of Vietnamese goods every day without paying tariffs, which has resulted in mushrooming border transactions.

"There are about 100 Vietnamese stores at the trade center currently, and transactions exceed 10 million yuan each day," said Jiang Biao, deputy director of Dongxing's border trade management bureau.

To facilitate trade, the People's Bank of China in 2013 approved a pilot project for individual cross-border renminbi settlement in Dongxing. Previously settlements between the renminbi, China's currency, and the Vietnamese dong had been be conducted using the U.S. dollar, which was inconvenient and could cause losses due to rate fluctuations. With the new policy, cross-border workers only need to provide receipts to conduct transnational settlements for amounts less than 800,000 yuan.

According to latest customs figures, border trade in Guangxi rose 8.6 percent year on year to 46 billion yuan (7.3 billion U.S. dollars) in the first half of 2015, the highest of any border city in China.

Booming trade has not only brought economic benefits to China, but also benefited the Vietnamese people.

Tran Le Thuong, who runs a specialty store in Dongxing, said total daily trade volume in her store can reach as much as 10,000 yuan.p "I even learned Chinese so that I can communicate with Chinese people more effectively," she said.


Zhao Minglong, a research fellow with the Guangxi Academy of Social Sciences, said enhanced trade has helped people on both sides and can contribute to regional peace, development and prosperity.

"The destinies of China and Vietnam are closely connected," Zhao said.

He said as China and Vietnam cooperation deepens, there will be more opportunities in the future.

Local business people hope that more preferential trade policies are on the way as the two countries seek closer ties.

"I'm confident about the bright prospects," said Nguyen Thi Dung, a Vietnamese interpreter working in Dongxing. "I believe there will be more favorable policies that facilitate businesses for us," the 29-year-old woman said with a smile.

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