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China, Vietnam mull construction of visa-free tourism zone

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NANNING, March 23 (Xinhua) -- China and its neighbor Vietnam are considering building a visa-free tourism zone on the border of the two countries, tourism authorities said Wednesday.

The visa-free zone will include Dongxing City in southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Mong Cai City in northern Vietnam, said Yu Xiaojun, deputy chief of the Guangxi's tourism bureau.

Tourists, and their vehicles, from China and Vietnam will not be required to have a visa or permit to enter the zone, he said.

The two cities have already worked out a blueprint, currently awaiting both countries' approval, Yu said, without giving a time frame.

Once given the go ahead, the project will take five to ten years to take shape, said Zhu Shengyong, Party chief of Dongxing City.

On Monday, Dongxing City completed the construction of the largest marketplace on the China-Vietnam border, which is located on the east bank of the Peilum River, facing Mong Cai.

The 51-hectare market, costing 2 billion yuan (305 million U.S. dollars), includes border trade wharfs, import and export facilities and various commodity markets.

In 2010, China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) established the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, which eliminates tariffs on 90 percent of products traded between China and ASEAN member countries.

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