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Nanning strengthens sister city relationships

By HAO NAN (China Daily)

Updated: 2021-09-08

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Nanning Bridge connects two districts in the capital of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. LEI YUEXIAN/FOR CHINA DAILY


Foreign visitors take photographs in Guangxi. QIN WEI/FOR CHINA DAILY

Nanning will continue to promote greater trade and cooperation with its sister cities in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and cities in other countries around the world at this year's China-ASEAN Expo to further serve the high-quality opening-up of the Chinese city, said senior officials of the city's foreign affairs office.

The upcoming 18th China-ASEAN Expo will take place both online and offline from Sept 10-13 in Nanning, capital of South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. It will hold 27 high-level forums covering topics such as green development and digital economy.

Taking advantage of Nanning being the permanent host of the expo, the city's foreign affairs office has organized a sister cities activity since 2019. A special exhibition zone will be set up, inviting Nanning's sister cities to participate and showcase their goods, services and local characteristics.

It has served as a good opportunity for the sister cities to showcase their products and projects in manufacturing, agriculture, science and technology, culture, education and tourism, in a bid to attract potential partners from Nanning and other regions of China, said Huang Haiyan, deputy director of the foreign affairs office.

Over the past two years, the activity has attracted more than 10 sister cities from such countries as Uruguay, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, Italy, France and Britain. Their exhibited products included food, handmade goods, oil paintings, Japanese sake, wine, beer, juice, sauces, olive oil and essential oils.

Last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the office suggested the sister cities mail goods to Nanning for the exhibition. The initiative helped to maintain a positive growth in the number of both exhibitors and exhibits. On-site sales at the exhibition exceeded 60,000 yuan ($9,290) in three days, Huang said.

This year, the sister cities activity will be upgraded in an all-around way, she added. Its booths will be in one of the expo's core exhibition zones and cover a larger area of 126 square meters.

"We want to create a comprehensive and exquisite exhibition zone for our sister cities, which integrate commodity sales and exhibition, city promotion, investment negotiation and cultural communication," Huang said.

A total of 12 sister cities have booked booths this year. Their exhibits will cover over 30 categories of commodities. They include toy dogs from the sister city of Akita in Japan, lavender essential oil from Provence in France, and craft beer from the city of Crema in Italy, with packaging featuring elements from Crema and Nanning.

This year, the office will cooperate with Nanning Radio and TV Station to broadcast the activity live to help promote the sister cities' offerings to a wider audience and further enhance Nanning's international visibility and influence at the same time.

Nanning has 26 international sister cities and maintains friendly exchanges with nearly 40 foreign cities across five continents.

This year, the city added a new sister city of Akita in Japan after years of solid cultural and economic exchanges and cooperation between the two sides. Mayors of the two cities plan to sign the sister city agreement online by the end of the year. Also, Nanning and the Mexican city of Morelia have reached an intention to establish a sister city relationship.

To help its sister cities better cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, Nanning this year donated a large number of medical supplies to such countries as Cambodia, Laos, the Philippines and Nepal. They included 100,000 medical masks, 1,250 protective suits, 5,000 surgical gloves and 10 small oxygen generators. More donations from the city government are being prepared and are expected to be sent out at a later date.

"We also held an online meeting with our sister city of Iquique in Chile to share Nanning's epidemic prevention and control experiences, and knowledge about China's COVID-19 vaccines," said Peng Jian, director of the city's foreign affairs office.