China-Europe freight trains connecting Madrid and Yiwu facilitate bilateral trade
(Photo: thepaper)

A China-Europe train carrying 100 standard containers of China-made small commodities and ceramic products left Yiwu, a major hub of small commodities in east China’s Zhejiang Province, for Madrid, Spain, Thursday.

On the same day, a train loaded with 70 standard containers of Spanish goods, including red wine and olive oil, departed from Madrid and headed for Yiwu.

The commemoration trips came as Thursday marked the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Spain. The freight train service between Yiwu and Madrid has facilitated trade between the two countries.

The train service from Yiwu to Madrid was officially launched in November 2014, spanning eight countries in Eurasia with a total length of more than 13,000 kilometers.

Wang Wen, executive dean of the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at the Renmin University of China, said the train service from Yiwu to Madrid has become a carrier of economic and trade cooperation and cultural exchanges between countries along the railway and has built a new bridge for opening and cooperation between countries and peoples along the line.

Zhou Xufeng, who is engaged in the import business of Spanish wine and olive oil in the Yiwu International Trade Market, said that over the years, the varieties of imported Spanish products have expanded from wine and olive oil to soft drinks, daily necessities, biscuits, and mineral water, and the prices are more than 30 percent lower.

“Some 1.5 million bottles of red wine are shipped from Spain through the China-Europe freight train service every year,” Zhou said.

Feng Xubin, chairman of the freight train service operator Yiwu Tianmeng Industrial Investment Co., Ltd., said since 2014, the freight train travel time from Yiwu to Madrid has been shortened, and the number of freight trains has been increased from one to two per week.

Feng said railway transport is more environmentally friendly and flexible for customized products. It is faster than sea transport and cheaper than air transport.

By 2022, China-Europe freight trains had made 1,326 trips between Yiwu and Madrid, carrying more than 100,000 standard containers of goods, according to Yiwu Customs. From 2014 to 2022, Yiwu’s trade with Spain increased from 400 million U.S. dollars to 870 million U.S. dollars, local customs data showed.