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In the spirit of the Belt and Road Initiative, a Chinese investment in Spain is proving beneficial to both sides.
China"s COSCO Shipping Ports became the major shareholder in Noatum Port Holding in Spain in late 2017, operating important southeastern and northern Spanish ports of Valencia and Bilbao, as well as two railway terminals in Zaragoza and Madrid.
Valencia is on the Mediterranean Sea and Bilbao on the Atlantic Ocean, both great connectivity points.
Local port leaders spoke highly of the investment, saying it benefits Chinese companies and the Spanish economy, a win-win situation.
"China has strengths in production. Today China focuses on production within China and export of those products, but now with the initiative, it is a good opportunity for Chinese companies to invest, for instance, in Spain and produce in Spain with Chinese technology," said Francesc Sanchez, general director of the Port Authority of Valencia.
The products can be manufactured in the European Union, which will open new markets in the United States, Africa and within Europe, he added.
"In Valencia, we are very open to these investments in these areas because we believe we can obtain advantages, and it is also a good opportunity for Chinese companies," he said.
Valencia is Spain"s largest container port, with annual capacity of 4.83 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent units). It is also the fifth-largest container port in Europe, following Rotterdam in the Netherlands, Antwerp in Belgium, and Hamburg and Bremerhaven in Germany.
The vessel capacity of COSCO Shipping ranks top in the world, and its container fleet capacity ranks third, according to Alphaliner, a global shipping consultancy.
"We are very happy that COSCO has invested in the port of Valencia," Sanchez said, adding that he expects COSCO"s investment will attract more big companies to the city.
Ricardo Barkala, chairman of the Port Authority of Bilbao, said China is involved in three of Spain"s five main ports - Bilbao, Valencia and Barcelona - and has also shown interest in Algeciras.
"This important investment effort from China in Bilbao means a significant improvement in the efficiency of the logistics system as well as an increase in traffic and destinations. We are delighted with this amazing opportunity," he said.
He noted that with COSCO"s connection, the port will expand its network with ports all over the world.
All these benefits are thanks to the Belt and Road Initiative, which was proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013. The initiative aims to improve connectivity among participating countries in trade, commerce and culture.
In five years, the initiative has borne fruit, benefiting for example Spain.
"The initiative reminds me of the Silk Road 1,000 years ago," said Sanchez, adding that it started with exchanging goods, but later created wealth and exchanges in more than goods, such as cultures.
In Valencia, there was a big silk industry.
"We obtained a lot of wealth and cultures from the old Silk Road, so for this new initiative - the new version of the old idea - we can develop closer relationships with Asian countries, especially China. We can increase companies" business through interchanging goods, but more importantly, we can conduct cultural and people-to-people exchanges," he said.personalized bracelets ukhow to make silicone wristbandsplastic c clips for rubber band braceletsbuy rubber wristbands online indiapersonalised wristbands ireland