China will build a “commercial city” in Thailand worth $1.5 billion that will allow traders to re-export Chinese-made goods and avoid costly tariffs, state media said Thursday.
More than 70,000 Chinese traders are expected to operate in the China City Complex in Bangkok, helping them miss levies on products shipped directly from China, the China Daily said, citing officials involved in the development.
The 700,000-square-metre (7.5 million square foot) centre — equivalent to 100 football pitches — will resemble the world’s largest wholesale market for small products in the city of Yiwu in eastern China, the report said.
Construction of the centre will begin on January 18 and is expected to be finished by 2013, it added.
“Apart from the business opportunities in Thailand, Chinese exporters can also promote their products to developed markets such as the European Union and the United States through this project,” Yang Fangshu, chairman of the ASEAN-China Economic and Trade Promotion Centre, was quoted as saying.
China signed a free trade agreement with Southeast Asian countries including Thailand in January 2010 which reduced or removed tariffs on traded goods.
Export-driven China has seen its trade surplus with the rest of the world balloon in recent years, reaching $196.1 billion in 2009 and triggering rows with trading partners who complain their shelves are been flooded with cheap Chinese-made products.
China was targeted in a record 127 cases brought by trading nations in 2009, the report said, without providing details.
The country’s trade surplus likely topped $190 billion in 2010, a commerce ministry official said recently. China is due to release full-year trade data next week.
The United States and Europe have led a chorus of complaints that China’s exchange rate controls have made the country’s exports artificially cheap and given its manufacturers an unfair advantage.