Shandong fuels foreign trade amid epidemic

(| Updated : 2020-02-25

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Shandong province, an economic powerhouse in East China, has been providing strong support in the fight against the novel coronavirus epidemic while also promoting economic and social development.

Last year, the total value of Shandong's imports and exports exceeded 2 trillion yuan ($285.2 billion) for the first time. This year the province will continue to expand foreign trade and international cooperation as well as promote high-quality development through a series of favorable policies and national strategies.

A series of high-speed high-horsepower engines are currently being assembled at a workshop operated by Weichai Group, one of the largest heavy truck and component developers in the Shandong city of Weifang. Overseas rush orders prompted Weichai to restore full production on Jan 27.

In January alone, Weichai sold 90,000 engines, up as much as 20 percent year on year.


Employees works on a production line at a factory operated by Weichai Group. [Photo/]

"Trade frictions and protectionism have cast a shadow over global trade; nevertheless, Weichai has pledged to expand the foreign market under the Belt and Road Initiative," said Tan Xuguang, chairman of Weichai Group, adding that the company's sales to India, Italy, Romania and other countries increased by more than 200 percent last year.

With Weichai setting a strong example, countries in the Belt and Road, ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), South America and other emerging markets have become engines for the growth of Shandong's foreign trade.

Official data showed that in 2019, Shandong's imports and exports to all major markets except the United States continued to grow, among which the total trade value with Belt and Road countries hit 603.09 billion yuan, up 15.9 percent.

"87 of the world's top 100 tire companies have partnered with us," said Zhang Gongyun, chairman of Himile Group in Shandong's Gaomi city.

Zhang said that his company has seen a surge in European orders since last year and is operating at full capacity. He added that they have built warehouses in Europe which offer faster delivery than their local counterparts.

Shandong is also playing a significant role in supporting the nation's economic upgrading. The region became the first comprehensive pilot zone in China to replace old economic growth drivers with new ones. Efforts began to show results in the structure of its export products.

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