The China-Mongolia border trading zone at Erenhot has reopened, according to reports in Chinese state media.
The zone is located across the border from the Mongolian town of Zamiin-Uud. It is facilitated by investments of around US$52.5 million and covers a range of cross-border business services.
It originally closed in February to prevent the spread of Covid-19, and has now reopened with protection measures, according to the local government.
According to the Chinese media reports, the authorities also used the reopening to launch the zone’s new ability to process agricultural products and livestock. It has been designated by the Chinese government as the only trading zone in Inner Mongolia that is allowed to do this kind of work.
"With the first batch of goods entering the zone, we are going to see a gradual recovery of bilateral trade through Erenhot and an increase in trade volume here," Mengkee, the deputy chief of the Erenhot Bureau of Commerce, told Xinhua News.
The Chinese government reportedly sees the zone as the country’s major economic gateway to Mongolia. It is run under the local authorities’ ‘Open to the North’ strategy, which intends to build trade ties between China, Mongolia and Russia, and ultimately falls under the enormous Belt and Road Initiative.
The zone is also a lifeline for the Chinese host city of Erenhot, which has a small population, little manufacturing, and strong winds that make construction difficult for six months of every year.
Reports from the zone a few years ago, however, suggested that the zone was struggling amidst a weakening Mongolian economy – a headwind that has once again returned thanks to the pandemic.