by Xinhua writer Li Jia
MINSK, May 14 (Xinhua) -- Since the second half of 2015, the China-Belarus industrial park, a special economic zone created by the two countries in Minsk Region, has developed rapidly.
Developed within the framework of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, the park has witnessed rapid expansion.
"Since the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held in Beijing last year, China and Belarus have provided further support for the development of the industrial park. The development company of the park also stepped up work in attracting investment," said Hu Zheng, CEO of China-Belarus Industrial Park Development Company.
"These actions have successfully promoted the rapid development of the largest inter-governmental cooperation project between the two countries," Hu said.
On May 11, plaques for 11 new resident companies were unveiled. Honorary certificates and medals were presented to the three companies that were the first to enter operations.
The industrial park, named Great Stone, is the largest foreign investment project in Belarus and represents a milestone in bilateral relations.
The slogan "Time is money, efficiency is life" stands at the entrance of the park. The slogan that was put forward at the beginning of China's reform and opening-up has inspired the builders of the industrial park to interpret "Chinese speed" with practical actions and achievements.
By the end of 2017, the first phase of the park's basic infrastructure had been completed, enabling the park to attract investment.
"Last year, more than 1,000 enterprise representatives from about 200 delegations visited the park. The interest in the park is also growing among foreign companies," Hu said.
In 2017, China provided technical and economic assistance for the park's basic infrastructure and actively participated in various promotional activities.
In May last year, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko issued a decree to expand benefits for resident companies of the park in a bid to attract more enterprises from around the world, including those from China.
At present, the large-scale trade and logistics subpark has been put into operation. A standard workshop invested by the park's development company has been completed, and another two are being built.
Since last year's forum, the number of resident companies in the industrial park has risen from nine to 34, representing eight countries -- China, Belarus, Russia, the United States, Germany, Austria, Lithuania and Israel. The total contract investment has hit 1.1 billion U.S. dollars.
By the end of the year, the number of companies is expected to be no fewer than 40; there will be over 70 by 2020. With the arrival of new companies, investment is expected to exceed 2 billion dollars by 2020.
There's plenty of hope for turning the industrial park into a project of great importance for the local economy and to promote trade between China and Belarus, said Hu.
"We will really make the industrial park a 'pearl' on the Silk Road Economic Belt and an exemplary project of reciprocal cooperation," Hu said.