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Cross-border trade improves people’s wellbeing in Dongxing,December 14, 2017 Adjust font size:

Located in the south of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, on the east bank of the boundary river Beilun, the Dongxing border trade zone is the China side of the Dongxing–Mong Cai economic zone: a free-trade area between Dongxing—the only Chinese city with both land and sea borders with ASEAN countries—and the city of Mong Cai, northern Vietnam’s largest border trade zone. Within this economic zone, people, goods, and vehicles of both sides can flow freely, and local residents walk across the border bridge every day to do business in bustling markets.

Making effective use of the 8,000-yuan (U.S. $1,183) daily duty-free limit, Dongxing came out with a “cross-border trade + mutual-help groups” poverty alleviation model, which Chen Jianlin, mayor of Dongxing, called the “1+n20+1” model: one Party branch leads several mutual-help groups with at least 20 members and 1 impoverished person, selling imported goods from authorized trade sites to processing enterprises in border regions, which in turn increases income of group members.

Zhang Xihui once lived in an impoverished household in Hezhou Village of Dongxing Town. Under the leadership of Han Xiangwu—the head of a mutual-help group—Zhang ran border trade and transportation businesses earning 19,386 yuan (U.S. $2,867) in the first four months of the year, equating to more than 4,800 yuan (U.S. $710) of monthly household income on average.

According to Chen, some impoverished people were trapped in passivity in the initial stages of the “1+n20+1” model; but, after seeing the positive results, they actively applied to join the groups.

Right now, the village has 20 such groups, whose 420 members represent 15.6% of the total village population. Of these 420 members, 67 are impoverished, accounting for 66% of the total impoverished population of the village. Xiang Jiancheng, the village Party secretary, introduced that since the establishment of mutual-help groups, each group has generated, on average, more than 38 million yuan (U.S. $5.62 million) in revenue annually with a profit of 720,000 yuan (U.S. $106,488). All impoverished members directly involved in the group’s daily operations, or who entrusted their loan to the group, lifted themselves from poverty with 36,000 yuan (U.S. $5,324) in annual income, or with a 7,600 yuan (U.S. $1,124) dividend a year, respectively.

The “cross-border trade + mutual-help groups” model provided employment to 111 impoverished people in Dongxing. Last year, it brought roughly 3,000 yuan (U.S. $444) of monthly income to impoverished people involved in jobs such as goods transportation and cargo handling. And the “cross-border trade + professional market” model, which promotes impoverished people’s involvement in border trade jobs, brought a monthly-income increase from less than 1,000 yuan (U.S. $148) to more than 3,000 yuan (U.S. $444).

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