LANZHOU, July 8 (Xinhua) -- Central Asian countries are looking forward to sharing inclusive growth with China, according to representatives at an investment and trade fair in northwest China's Gansu Province.
The 24th China Lanzhou Investment and Trade Fair opened Thursday in Lanzhou, capital of Gansu. Guests from more than 40 countries and regions are attending the five-day fair.
"Although we are different in economic development and culture, the Belt and Road Initiative has promoted inclusive development in China and central Asian countries," said Muratbek Imanaliev, former SCO secretary-general.
Zhang Shi'en, with Gansu's provincial department of commerce, said that Central Asia had become Gansu's biggest overseas agricultural product distributing area.
According to the department, trade volume between Gansu and countries along the Belt and Road exceeded 10 billion yuan (about 1.5 billion U.S. dollars) in 2016. Gansu has opened commerce branch offices in several countries, including Belarus and Iran, to expand economic and trade cooperation.
Universities in China and countries along the Belt and Road have also deepened cultural exchanges. Membership of the University Alliance of Belt and Road has exceeded 50 since it was established in 2015 by eight countries along the Belt and Road.
"We have close cooperation, especially on education with Lanzhou Jiaotong University," said Turkmenistan's ambassador to China, Chinar Rustamova. "Turkmenistan looks forward to deepen cooperation with China in economic and trade cooperation, transportation and education."
First held in 1993, the fair is an important platform for opening up in northwest China and has grown in importance as China accelerates opening-up to central and western Asia under the Belt and Road Initiative.