(China News Service,21 June)Flow of goods, connecting the world. On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the national Strategy for the Coordinated Development of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei, the 2024 China Langfang International Economic and Trade Fair (referred to as “Langfang Economic and Trade Fair”) held in Langfang, Hebei Province on 19 June, which is known as the “pearl of the Beijing-Tianjin Corridor”, not only attracts global attention, but also reflects that Hebei is taking advantage of the major historical opportunity for the coordinated development of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei to accelerate a high level of opening-up, and accelerates “dialogue” with the world.

Logistics Industry “Revives” Manufacturing: Hebei Seeks New Driving Force in Integrated Development

In the eyes of observers, the Langfang Fair, with a history of 40 years (formerly known as the “First Expo on Utilizing Foreign Capital, Introducing Advanced Technology, and Exporting Commodities” held by the Hebei Provincial Government in 1984), not only witnessed the great achievements of Hebei’s reform and opening up, but also grew into an important window for Hebei to showcase its image and for the world to glimpse its development. Since last year, this comprehensive economic and trade fair has transformed into a specialized exhibition focusing on modern trade and logistics, which aligns with Hebei’s position as an important base for national modern trade and logistics. Today, Hebei is seeking new impetus in the coordinated development of Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei.

On June 16, the 2024 China Langfang International Economic and Trade Fair opened in Langfang, Hebei, China. This photo shows the exhibition and display activities at the fair, with the Hong Kong exhibition area attracting visitors. (Photo by Han Bing/ China News Service)
On June 16, the 2024 China Langfang International Economic and Trade Fair opened in Langfang, Hebei, China. This photo shows the exhibition and display activities at the fair, with the Hong Kong exhibition area attracting visitors. (Photo by Han Bing/ China News Service)

A senior researcher at the Institute of Economic Research at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Dr. Fuminjie Fu, who has been engaged in macroeconomic research for a long time, noticed that as the only national and international comprehensive economic and trade fair in Hebei Province, the Langfang Economic and Trade Fair has been transforming into a specialized exhibition focused on modern trade and logistics, showing three basic trends: First, the fair’s positioning has become clearer and more specialized, deepening Hebei’s new functions and new positioning in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei regional development; Second, it reflects Hebei’s unprecedented progress in transportation infrastructure, high-quality development of advanced manufacturing, and the development advantages of Langfang in the regional development; Third, it clearly shows Hebei’s development requirements and path in the new development pattern, focusing more on the real economy and advanced manufacturing, vigorously developing new quality productivity, and using logistics industry to drive the development of manufacturing in the entire Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.

Logistics is the “blood vessels” of the real economy, connecting production and consumption, domestic trade and foreign trade. In the “Outline for the Coordinated Development of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei”, Hebei Province is positioned as “three zones and one base”, with one of the zones being the national base for modern trade and logistics.

Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei are important transportation hubs for southbound, northbound, and eastbound and westbound traffic in China. Surrounding Beijing and Tianjin, Hebei has a convenient and smooth transportation system. Its railway operating mileage ranks second in the country, and its highway expressway mileage ranks fifth. The three major ports have handled over 1.3 billion tons of cargo, and its maritime trade routes reach more than 70 countries and regions around the world… In Fuyiminjie’s view, these data indicate that Hebei has the basic conditions for becoming a logistics powerhouse. Its unique geographical location also makes it more conducive to actively receiving Beijing’s non-capital functions and assisting the integration of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region with the world. “Another important point is that the logistics industry and advanced manufacturing industry are in very important positions in the future industrial planning. We should promote the development of modern logistics and trade by serving as a driving force for advanced manufacturing, helping Hebei build a new highland of modern trade and logistics nationwide, promote the high-level opening up of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, and create a higher level of open economy system.”

To accelerate the opening up for dialogue with the world, “international flair” showcases its “magnetic attraction.”

It is learned that at this year’s Langfang Economic and Trade Fair, 35 country delegations attended the event and exhibited, over 400 foreign guests from more than 60 countries participated in the event, some ambassadors, foreign government officials and heads of international organizations were invited to attend, the number of World 500 Strong enterprises attending the event increased compared to last year, the number of guests and businessmen attending the event has reached the highest level of internationalization in the past years; the “Top 50 Global Logistics Enterprises in 2024” list was released at the opening ceremony, and activities such as the 2024 International Association of Logistics and Transport Conference and the International Modern Commerce and Logistics Cooperation Summit were held during the event; the exhibition area features national pavilions from Belarus and other countries, and products from countries along the Belt and Road. As some media have commented, the Langfang Economic and Trade Fair is becoming increasingly international in style.

The scene of the 2024 China Langfang International Economic and Trade Fair. (Photo by Li Yongchen)
The scene of the 2024 China Langfang International Economic and Trade Fair. (Photo by Li Yongchen)

In the eyes of Dai Hongwei, a professor at the School of Economics at the Central University of Finance and Economics, this not only means the successful transformation of the Langfang Economic and Trade Fair, but also indicates that Hebei is leveraging the traffic and logistics advantages of the Bohai Bay and the world-class airport cluster in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region to accelerate high-quality development in its outward-oriented development.

From the Shijiazhuang International Land Port, where one train after another heads for Europe, to the international inbound and outbound cargo ships at the Huanghua Port in the Bohai Rim Zone of Cangzhou, Hebei; from the construction of Great Wall Motors’ factory in Brazil to the smooth operation of Hesteel Group’s steel company in Serbia on the Danube River… Hebei, which seeks breakthroughs in high-level opening up, is accelerating the expansion of its international “friends circle”. And the rapid development of international land ports, port logistics, air logistics, and cross-border e-commerce in Hebei in recent years has been continuously expanding the province’s dialogue with the world.

Dai Hongwei said that surrounding Beijing and Tianjin and being located along the outer coast of the Bohai Sea is a huge advantage for Hebei. The prerequisite for fully leveraging this advantage is to further deeply integrate into the coordinated development strategy of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei through leveraging the advanced development of transportation and logistics, and thus promote high-quality economic development. Hebei is currently focusing on building a global logistics hub centered on Langfang, which is located north of Beijing and adjacent to Tianjin, and this has special significance for economic development.

He believes that the “international flavor” of this logistics conference reflects the “magnetic attraction” of Hebei, which is backed by the province’s resource advantages in actively developing modern trade and logistics and expanding openness to the outside world. It also comes from the internal drive to continuously optimize the business environment and attract more production factors.

“I noticed that Hebei has achieved remarkable high-quality development in recent years. On the one hand, it has seized the significant historical opportunity of the coordinated development of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei, fully leveraging its geographical advantages and actively integrating into the national strategy. On the other hand, it has made great efforts to promote scientific and technological innovation and the business environment, achieving obvious results,” said Dai Hongwei. “Both overseas investors and enterprises from other provinces are paying increasing attention to Hebei.”

The President of the International Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT), CILT Fellow Tite Oussou-Nout, said that China is one of the countries actively involved in the global logistics industry and has achieved remarkable achievements in promoting logistics and transportation industry innovation, which have enabled logistics services to shift towards intelligentization. He believes that this conference will provide the industry with a new perspective and promote the sustainable development of the global logistics industry.

(by Zhang Ziyang,Chen Lin))