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Development

High Hopes Tibet Railway Boosts Trade

[WTN-L World Tibet Network News. Published by The Canada Tibet Committee. Issue ID: 05/02/23; February 23, 2005.]

(China Daily is an official publication of the Chinese government)

Updated: 2005-02-23 02:07

LHASA: China's landmark project on "the roof of the world," the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, is expected to have a long-term impact on local industry when it opens in two years.

Wei Houkai from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said he believes the railway will help to boost trade between the secluded Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and elsewhere in China.

The Tibet Autonomous Region, covering an area of more than 1.2 million square kilometres, around one-eighth of China's land mass, is the only province in the country without a railway.

This has been one of the major obstacles in its economic development.

Wei said prices in Tibet are currently much higher than in interior areas of China due to high transport costs. But prices are expected to come down once the Qinghai-Tibet Railway starts up.

This will also stimulate trade between Tibet and other provinces, he said.

Wei predicts that goods traded between Tibet and inland areas will reach 2.8 million tons by 2010.

About 2.1 million of those tons will be transported by rail.

Roads are now the main way goods are moved about in Tibet, but Wei said road transport will lessen once the rail network opens.

Tibetan products such as minerals, medicines, yaks and highland barley are among the products expected to become increasingly popular across China.


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