Chongqing sets up 'Belt and Road' coffee trading platform
With the operation of the Chongqing-Xinjiang-Europe Railway, the mountainous city of Chongqing has seen the launch of China's largest trading center for coffee.
As CRI's Huang Shan reports, this railway has brought considerable economic benefits to both China and the countries along the route, since it started its operation in 2011 under the Belt and Road Initiative.
In the exhibition hall of the Chongqing coffee trading center, an appraiser is telling the visitors how to taste the aroma of fresh coffee beans.
Located in China's landlocked southwest, Chongqing has already become the country's largest e-commerce platform and the world's major distribution center for coffee, since the center opened in June 2016.
Chairman of the Chongqing Coffee Exchange, Feng Yue, explains that while Chongqing does not produce coffee beans, the center has handled some 5.3 billion yuan worth of coffee spot transactions in less than a year's time.
"With a total length of 11,000 kilometers, the Chongqing-Xinjiang-Europe railway runs directly from Chongqing to Duisburg in Germany. The journey only takes 13 days, which can save 30 days from the conventional water transportation, and its cost is four-fifth cheaper than that of air transportation. The coffee trading center in Chongqing closely links the major coffee producing areas, including Yunnan, Southeast Asia, and South Asia, with the consumer market in Europe."
For businessmen, time is money. Coffee from Yunnan Province and Southeast Asia is processed in Chongqing Bonded Port Area and then transported to the European inland.
With the introduction of the 'One-Card Pass' system, declarations for the cargoes are only required once in Chongqing, instead of being submitted in each country along the way.
Feng Yue shares more advantages of the coffee trading center.
"Through business and trade clusters, the center can achieve the informatization of big data and then offer accurate market information to the traders. Moreover, the center can reduce the cost and risks of their transactions. Thirdly, since many transactions are taking place here, banks will also make sure to have a presence here, by providing financial services to both sides of the business. Traders are very optimistic about the settlement functions, in terms of the imports and exports of coffee."
The Chongqing-Xinjiang-Europe Railway company has signed cooperation agreements with over 50 cross border e-commercial companies.
Nicola Sangiovanni, an expert advisor at an Italian food and beverages company, points out the importance of this policy.
"We hope that this new policy can help Europe to increase the train way because it's really economic and really fast. It is a very important point that I think the two different countries work with each other and using this type of policy can be a really good job for each other."
Besides coffee beans, now the cargoes on the return journey also include vehicles, daily necessities, food, fruits, meat and medical equipment.
For CRI, this is Huang Shan.