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New 'Silk Road' Could Ease Sino-EU Trade

A caravan of trucks is expected to depart from Beijing today bound for Brussels as a pilot shipment of goods carried by road from China to Europe.


The expedition is part of the nation's efforts to promote barrier-free transport on the "Euro-Asian trans-continental land bridge," between China and Europe and rekindle the spirit of the ancient Silk Road.


Expected to reach its final destination on October 17, the Beijing-Brussels Caravan will visit Astana, Moscow, Riga, Vilnius, Warsaw and Berlin.


"The activity aims to demonstrate that the barrier-free intercontinental transport of goods by road is workable," said Yao Mingde, president of the Chinese Road Transport Association.


The project was initiated by the International Road Transport Union (IRU), the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific as part of the ongoing Euro-Asian Road Transport Conference, which opened in Beijing yesterday.


As a consequence of globalization, road transport links do not stop at frontiers of continents, said Martin Marmy, IRU's secretary-general, at the conference.


"Road transport services should complete and in certain relations replace the dominant sea transport mode in intercontinental traffic," Marmy said.


Robust trade growth between China and Europe has increased demand for road transport, but barriers still exist.


Preconditions for achieving trans-continental road transport include sound infrastructure, a legal framework that can be accepted by all concerned and a detailed implementation procedure, said Ju Chengzhi, a senior official from the Ministry of Communications.


"The Chinese Government is making every effort to join in the international cooperation, which is crucial for achieving the goal," said Ju, director of the ministry's Department of International Affairs.


(China Daily September 27, 2005)


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