South China’s island province of Hainan is strategically positioned to play a crucial role in promoting the synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Free Trade Port (FTP) development. In an interview with Xinhua, Bateer, the vice governor of Hainan, emphasized the province’s unique policy advantages and geographical location as key factors enabling it to facilitate the convergence of these two significant initiatives.
Hainan has made significant strides in recent years to bolster the implementation of the FTP policy. The province has worked diligently to create a more equitable and open business environment, attracting investments from BRI partner countries. Notably, from January to August of the current year, the number of new foreign-invested enterprises established by BRI partners in Hainan surged by an impressive 24.12 percent year on year.
Furthermore, Hainan actively supports domestic enterprises in expanding their investments in BRI partner countries such as Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Cambodia. These investments span diverse sectors, including manufacturing, agriculture, and education. Simultaneously, Hainan is strengthening the connections between domestic markets and international resources, creating a more seamless flow of commerce.
The province has also been proactive in promoting economic and trade exchanges with BRI partners, resulting in significant growth. In 2022, the import and export volume of Hainan’s trade with BRI partners reached 94.4 billion yuan (approximately 13 billion U.S. dollars), marking a substantial 62.8 percent increase year on year. In the first eight months of the current year, this figure rose to 71.19 billion yuan, reflecting a commendable 23.3 percent increase compared to the same period in the previous year.
Hainan’s commitment to fostering international cooperation is further evidenced by its utilization of major international events as platforms for collaboration. Events such as the Boao Forum for Asia, the China International Consumer Products Expo, and the Hainan Island International Film Festival have been leveraged to facilitate cooperative research, dialogues, and information sharing, thereby strengthening exchanges and partnerships with BRI countries.
Looking ahead, Bateer affirmed that Hainan’s commitment to deepening cooperation with BRI partners remains steadfast. The province will continue to enhance its practical collaboration with BRI countries across various levels and sectors. This approach will be driven by a focus on furthering openness, emphasizing project construction, and nurturing cultural exchanges, thereby solidifying Hainan’s pivotal role in the evolving landscape of the Belt and Road Initiative.