By the end of 2012, China had approved 14 bonded port areas, all of which had been built. Amongst them, 12 have already registered import and export data, namely the Yangshan area of Shanghai municipality, the Dongjiang area of Tianjin municipality, the Dayao Bay area of Dalian city, the Yangpu area of Hainan province, the Qinzhou area of Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, Nansha area of Guangzhou city, Zhangjiagang of Jiangsu province, the Qianwan area of Qingdao city, the Qianhai Bay area of Shenzhen city, the Meishan area of Ningbo city, the Haicang area of Xiamen city and the Lianglu Cuntan area of Chongqing municipality. (The data for the other two areas in Yantai and Fuzhou cities is still unavailable.)
Customs statistics show that the 12 bonded areas mentioned above had a total import and export volume of 34.859 billion US dollars in 2012, for year-on-year growth of 54.4 percent. Imports reached 13.547 billion US dollars and exports reached 21.312 billion US dollars, for year-on-year growth of 56.6 percent and 53.1 percent respectively. Of the 12 bonded areas, six, or 50 percent of them, recorded total import and export volumes in excess of 1 billion US dollars, and 10, or 83 percent of them, registered a year-on-year increase of over 30 percent. Bonded areas witnesss the highest year-on-year growth of imports and exports and the most coordinated development of all six kinds of customs special supervision areas.
Features and driving forces of the exceptional growth of imports and exports in 2012 of bonded port areas include:
1. Innovative demonstration businesses. In 2012, the Dongjiang area in Tianjin municipality and the Yangshan area in Shanghai municipality had total import and export volumes of 5.334 billion US dollars and 9.318 billion US dollars respectively, for year-on-year growth of 130.3 percent and 58.2 percent, the largest amongst their kind.
The main driving force behind the growth for the two areas came from business innovations, such as financial leasing services for airplanes and ships in Dongjiang, and the piloting program of same ports and ships for internal and foreign trade businesses as well as VAT reform in Yangshan.
2. Industry take over and transfers. In 2012, the total import and export volume registered at the Lianglu Cuntan area reached 4.974 billion US dollars, for a year-on-year increase of 321.1 percent. Exports reached 2.954 billion US dollars and imports reached 2.02 billion US dollars, for a year-on-year increase of 315.7 percent and 329.3 percent respectively, the highest amongst all bonded areas.
The growth should be primarily attributed to the takeover of the processing sector transferred from East China. Imports and exports generated by industrial transfers reached 2.875 billion US dollars, for a year-on-year net increase of 2.301 billion US dollars, accounting for 59.8 percent of import growth and 83.5 percent of the export growth of all bonded areas in China.
3. Growth of commodity imports. In 2012, bonded port areas made full use of geographical and comparative advantages and exploited their potential as the entity and hub for expanding exports, driving regional economic development and meeting domestic demand. The bonded areas also sought growth of commodity imports, such as crude oil at the Qinzhou area in Guangxi, rubber, cotton and timber in the Qianwan area of Qingdao and Zhangjiagang in Jiangsu province.
Cargo transiting at the customs special supervision areas of bonded ports in China reached 19.644 billion US dollars in 2012, for a year-on-year increase of 55.5 percent, accounting for 56.35 percent and 92.17 percent of the total foreign trade volume and import volume respectively at all bonded areas. The Qinzhou area of Guangxi had an annual total import and export volume of 1.276 billion US dollars, for year-on-year growth of 377.1 percent, of which 531 million US dollars was obtained from imports and exports at customs special supervision areas - 63.7 times that of the previous year.
(The author works with the Association of Export Processing Zones of China’s Bonded Areas, 100730.)