This aerial photo taken on May 11, 2023 shows a crane loading containers at a railway port in Horgos, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. (Xinhua/Hao Zhao)
URUMQI, Nov. 1 (Xinhua) -- The Xinjiang Pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ), the first in China's northwestern border regions, officially started operations on Wednesday.
An unveiling ceremony for the FTZ was held in Urumqi, the regional capital city. Erkin Tuniyaz, chairman of the regional government, issued licenses for the three areas of the FTZ, encompassing areas in Urumqi, Horgos and Kashgar.
The total area of the FTZ covers nearly 180 square kilometers.
Erkin Tuniyaz said that Xinjiang will leverage its resources, geographical advantages, and industrial foundation to advance the construction of the FTZ with high standards and high quality.
The FTZ is expected to make a great contribution to Xinjiang's integration into the "dual circulation" of domestic and international markets, support the core area development of the Belt and Road Initiative, and play a significant role in building a "golden channel" between Asia and Europe, and a bridgehead for China's westward opening up, he added.
On Tuesday, China's State Council issued a general plan for establishing the Xinjiang Pilot FTZ as a significant strategic move for promoting reform and opening-up in the new era.
The plan will grant the FTZ greater autonomy in reform, allowing it to explore alternative paths to those of other FTZs, and cultivate and expand industries unique to Xinjiang or in which Xinjiang has advantages.