Members of SCO Ambassadors’ Club complete visit to Chongqing
Members of SCO Ambassadors’ Club complete visit to Chongqing, chart cooperation prospects

On 25 February 2018, members of the SCO Ambassadors' Club completed their session in Chongqing. Their trip included visits to companies with a key significance for expanded trade and economic cooperation and to well-known cultural heritage landmarks.

A visit to the Chongqing Lianjiang New Area, which was established 18 June 2018 by a decision of the PRC State Council north of the Yangtze River and east of the Jialing River, evoked substantial practical interest. The district has 176 national and municipal research and development agencies, 11 national industrial bases and 187 high-tech companies, as well as eight science and technological industrial parks and 33 national and municipal areas for mass entrepreneurship. In 2017, the economy of the Lianjiang New Area continued to grow as rapidly as before. The district's GDP increased 11.6 percent reaching 124 billion yuan. The industry value added increased 8 percent to 70.8 billion yuan. Fixed-asset investment increased 17.2 percent to 130.2 billion yuan. Retail consumer goods sales went up 12 percent to 48.1 billion yuan, and overall state-budget revenues increased 10.1 percent and totaled 14.67 billion yuan. The amount of foreign capital utilization totals approximately $2.65 billion.

The Ambassadors of SCO member-states also visited the Chongqing Logistics Centre, established in September 2007. This is where the Chongqing-Xinjiang-Kazakhstan-Russia-Belarus-Europe international railway begins. Since the park's inception, total investment has already reached 36.4 billion yuan. In all, 37.6 kilometres of roads have been built, including 26.8 kilometres of roads still under construction. Also, 1.95 million square metres of housing, including 666,000 square metres of unfinished housing, have been built, and 1,273 companies have been registered. In 2017, fixed-asset investment reached 7.79 billion yuan jumping up 24 percent in 12 months. The number of registered companies increased by 255 percent over 2016 to 504. Export and import volumes reached $1,073 billion. In 2017, 663 container trains used the Chongqing-Europe mainline. Of this number, 406 trains went to Europe, with 257 traveling to China.

Members of the SCO Ambassadors' Club held a roundtable discussion at Chong Qing Life Online Industrial Group Co., Ltd that provides services in international transactions and financial operations and which also acts as a cost-effective online trading platform. The diplomats attended a presentation of a planned International Network Operations Centre, a project being implemented with China Post to deliver consignments to end clients with a high-quality guarantee.

At the end of their working programme, SCO Family Ambassadors and diplomats visited the cradle of Chinese Buddhism, including the Dazu Rock Carvings and the ancient city of Ciqikou.

The Dazu Rock Carvings dating to the 7th-9th centuries AD include at least 50,000 Buddhist, Confucian, Dao and secular statues. Nirvana Shakyamuni, one of the most famous sculptures, depicts a 31-metre long Buddha sleeping on his side. This complex of ancient cliff bas-reliefs and rock carvings is the most outstanding example of the Chinese art of carving inscriptions and statues inside caves. In 1999, this area was included into UNESCO's World Heritage Sites as a unique example of the harmonious synthesis of Buddhism, Daoism and Confucianism.

The ancient city of Ciqikou, also known as the Porcelain Village, was built in 998-1003 during the Song Dynasty. However, it was more comprehensively developed during the Ming and Qin dynasties. At that time, the city became a major port receiving merchants from various Chinese cities. In 2006, Ciqikou received the status of an AAAA class tourist landmark. Over 10 million tourists visit this "village" each year.