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Sino-Russian ties help Heihe thrive

Updated : 2015-03-23

By Zhuan Ti ( China Daily )

Heilongjiang's Heihe is an emerging port city that thrives on its economic cooperation with Russia. According to Zhang Enliang, the mayor of Heihe, Russia is seeking more business opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region, especially China, which means more opportunities for the city's development.

Zhang said the city's location is its largest advantage in its cooperation with Russia. Located in the northern part of the province, Heihe is one river - the famed Heilongjiang - away from Blagoveshchensk in Russia's Amurskaya region.

The city was an important trading port throughout history and has been doing business with Russia for more than 130 years.

After 30 years of opening-up, with support from the central government, Heihe is now a bustling port city that plays a crucial role in Sino-Russian cooperation.

The city and Amurskaya region started a range of cooperative projects in 2011 in sectors including transportation, resources, culture and tourism.

"The larger the space in which the two parties can work together, the bigger the stage for Heihe to flourish in the future," Zhang said.

The city is covered in the province's very important Land and Maritime Silk Road Economic Belt program and is a key player in opening-up.

Zhang said the city is stepping up efforts to carry out more cooperation projects in a variety of fields.

The mayor said the annual trade volume between Heihe and the Amurskaya region is growing steadily. In the future, for exported products, the government will pay more attention to processing and manufacturing. For imports, the government will help bring the products in and connect sellers with buyers.

The city government will also put more emphasis on facilitating cooperation projects in the energy sector. The government will encourage companies in the city to "go out" for development and cooperation projects in Russia.

The city's Sino-Russian Forestry Science Park is recognized as the nation's demonstration area for cooperation and research in forestry.

Its Heihe Agricultural Science Park is the only State-level agricultural park on the Chinese side of the border between China and Russia. In the future, the government will integrate the resources from both sides to develop its own brands of pollution-free agricultural products.

The government has devised the "Sino-Russian Twin Cities" tourism proposal to promote each city's tourism resources and develop more unique destinations in the two cities.

It will also develop industrial chains in a range of industrial parks in the city to carry out cooperative projects.

The construction of the Heilongjiang Bridge and the cableway connecting Heihe and Blagoveshchensk will begin soon.

The city has hosted the Sino-Russian Cultural Fair for five years. The fair is now a national cultural exchange event and a famous cultural brand. The mayor said there would be more such cultural brands and events in the border area between China and Russia.