A new experimental area for development and opening up at the border of northern China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region has been approved, said a local official on Monday.
After two years of preparations, approval is a breakthrough for Erenhot, an inland port city which borders Mongolia, said Wu Tielin, an official with the Inner Mongolia Reform and Development Commission.
Erenhot was approved as one of China's 13 border cities for opening up in 1992 and is now among the few inland ports with a cargo throughput of more than 10 million tonnes per year.
In 2013, the cargo throughput via the railway and highway ports of Erenhot reached 13 million tonnes with a trade volume of US$3.6 billion.
The experimental area will enjoy preferential policies in financing, land, investment and industry, to attract capital, talent and technology, said Yu Guangjun of the Inner Mongolia Academy of Social Sciences. It will contribute to regional economic, social and cultural cooperation and exchange, he added.
Erenhot has been a bridgehead for China's economic and trade ties with Mongolia. In 2012, the State Council, China's cabinet, approved plans to build up Manzhouli, in the north of Inner Mongolia, Dongxing in the southern Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region and Ruili in the southwestern Yunnan province into key experimental areas for development and opening up.
Manzhouli, China's largest land port, borders Russia to the north and sits close to Mongolia to the west. More than 60% of trade between China and Russia passes through Manzhouli.