Across China: RCEP helps northwest China province expand friend circle

Yinchuan welcomed a group of "special guests" late Wednesday with the arrival of the city's first international flight following China's optimized COVID-19 response.

Yinchuan, capital of northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, welcomed a group of "special guests" late Wednesday with the arrival of the city's first international flight following China's optimized COVID-19 response.

It was a chartered plane carrying over 1,700 sheep from New Zealand that marked a new beginning as the pandemic had caused a three-year hiatus in Ningxia's international cargo flights.

After undergoing a 45-day quarantine and examination, this batch of imported sheep will be transported to animal husbandry enterprises in the neighboring Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

Ningxia has been chosen as the designated isolation location for imported breeding animals for its proximity to Inner Mongolia, and climatic advantages boasting abundant sunshine, less rainfall and ample forage grass, which guarantee a high survival rate for such animals.

On Thursday, another flock of more than 1,300 New Zealand breeding sheep followed suit and were transported via a chartered flight to Yinchuan.

These sheep arrived at a time when Ningxia is experiencing a surge in overseas trade activities, partly attributable to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) that took effect on Jan. 1, 2022.

The RCEP, which was signed by 15 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, has served as a stimulus for increased economic cooperation and trade.

According to Yinchuan Customs, Ningxia registered trade transactions under the RCEP worth 839 million yuan (about 121.8 million U.S. dollars) in 2022, resulting in a customs tax concession of 25 million yuan. The beneficiaries of this concession include producers of machinery, clean energy and agricultural products.

"The implementation of the RCEP has brought advantages in terms of customs clearance and tax incentives, and further reduced our costs. Now simply holding an RCEP certificate of origin would qualify us for the corresponding preferential tariff policies," said a staffer with Ningxia Tiandi Benniu Industrial Group Co., Ltd.

Since the RCEP came into effect, the company has declared goods exceeding 56 million yuan under the RCEP, and enjoyed a tariff concession of nearly 1.7 million yuan.

The RCEP has also boosted the export of Ningxia's specialty and high-quality agricultural products such as goji berries, rice and potato.

"Our featured products such as goji berry, jujube and day lily are mainly exported to Japan. The RCEP has helped us explore more overseas markets and acquire many new orders," said Hu Wenjing, who works with Ningxia Hong Rising Biological Technology Co., Ltd., adding that their products are now entitled to a tax reduction ranging from 8 percent to 12 percent.

The RCEP has expanded its list of tax relief items to include auto parts, mechanical, electrical, and steel products, among others. As a result, enterprises in Ningxia that specialize in equipment manufacturing and clean energy will likely see a boost in revenue and take advantage of new opportunities.

In 2022, customs authorities in Ningxia issued 652 RCEP certificates of origin to 45 companies, which exempted them from an estimated 22 million yuan in tariff.

"While consolidating traditional trade markets such as the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, we will actively explore potential markets such as Africa, South America and the Arab region to further help Ningxia expand its friend circle," said Chen Yan, an official of the Yinchuan Customs.

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