Xi'an forum focuses on Silk Road Economic Belt

Updated: 2013-09-27 17:27

By Ma Lie in Xi'an (chinadaily.com.cn)

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The ongoing Euro-Asia Economic Forum in Xi'an focused on the construction of a Silk Road Economic Belt and experts suggested building China's second free trade zone in the city.

During his visits to Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan in early September, President Xi Jinping proposed jointly building the Silk Road Economic Belt.

Vice-Premier Wang Yang made specific recommendations for the construction of the belt in his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the 5th Euro-Asia Economic Forum from Sept 26 to 28 in Xi'an, the permanent conference venue for the forum.

The vice-premier said that the international and economic situation is undergoing complex changes and cooperation and development is important.

In order to achieve this common goal, Wang put forward four suggestions; seeking common ground, and win-win opportunities, boosting regional economic and social development, jointly resisting all forms of trade protection and opening more direct flights.

The Silk Road Economic Belt, along the ancient Silk Road, links East Asia and Europe and covers more than 40 countries and more than 3 billion people. It will play an important role in regional and global development, said Lu Shanbing, professor at the economy and management school of Northwest University.

"Xi'an, as the starting point of the ancient Silk Road, should contribute more to the construction of the belt," Lu said.

Zhang Baotong, well-known social and economic expert in Shaanxi province, said that Xi'an should be at the heart of the belt.

Zhang also suggested that the Silk Road should be built as an energy channel and an energy exchange center should be established in Xi'an.

Lu said that the construction of Silk Road Economic Belt is a good opportunity to promote the construction of a free trade zone in Xi'an after Shanghai's free trade zone.

"At present, there are more than 1,000 free trade zones in the world and there are 655 in the United States, I think China can build a second free trade zone in Xi'an," the professor said.