BEIJING: China’s brainchild, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is expected to create linkages between different countries which will see growth in cooperation, trade and investment in respective regions and globally.
The initiative which is to link countries either through the Silk Road, sea, air, cyberspace and rail is expected to boost trade and investment in countries along the BRI and China as the backbone of the initiative expected to endeavor building a win-win business partnership with other countries participating in the BRI to enhance trade and investment facilitation with them, and build a Belt and Road free trade network.
When officially opening the two day BRI forum on Monday, China’s President Xi Jinping said trade was an important engine driving economic growth in countries therefore there should be a need for cooperation on a bigger scale.
“We should embrace the outside world with an open mind, uphold the multilateral trading regime, advance the building of free trade areas and promote liberalisation and facilitation of trade and investment. Of course, we should also focus on resolving issues such as imbalances in development, difficulties in governance, digital divide and income disparity and make economic globalisation open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all”, he said. – Xi Jinping explained that all countries should build an open platform of cooperation in order to uphold growth and openness to world economy which in turn will jointly create an environment that will facilitate opening up and development, establish a fair, equitable and transparent system of international trade and investment rules and boost the orderly flow of production factors, efficient resources allocation and full market integration.
He noted that China has worked with other countries involved in the BRI to promote trade and investment facilitation and improve business environment which has seen increased trade connectivity since the last four years the initiative was proposed.
“Total trade between China and other Belt and Road countries in 2014-2016 has exceeded US$3 trillion, and China’s investment in these countries has surpassed US$50 billion. Chinese companies have set up 56 economic cooperation zones in over 20 countries, generating some US$1.1 billion of tax revenue and 180,000 jobs for them”, he explained. Xi Jinping said even though countries have different models of growing their economies based on their national conditions and that they respect those efforts, it was still crucial that all countries come together to build a broad community of shared interest. He maintained that Industries were the foundation of world economy therefore there should a need to deepen industrial cooperation so that industrial development plans of different countries will complement and reinforce each other.
Xi Jinping further said the focus should be put on launching major
Only when the blood circulates smoothly can one grow. We should establish a stable and sustainable financial safeguard system that keeps risks under control, create new models of investment and financing, encourage greater cooperation between government and private capital and build a diversified financing system and a multi-tiered capital market. We should also develop inclusive finance and improve financial services networks,” he said. He noted that infrastructure connectivity was the foundation of development through cooperation and as such all countries should promote land, maritime, air and cyberspace connectivity, concentrate efforts on key passageways, cities and projects and connect networks of highways, railways and sea ports.
“The goal of building six major economic corridors under the Belt and Road Initiative has been set, and we should endeavor to meet it. We need to seize opportunities presented by the new round of change in energy mix and the revolution in energy technologies to develop global energy interconnection and achieve green and low-carbon development. We should improve trans-regional logistics network and promote connectivity of policies, rules and standards so as to provide institutional safeguards for enhancing connectivity,” he noted.
On how the initiative will work and benefit countries including the African continent, Xi Jinping explained that China will scale up financing support for the BRI by contributing an additional RMB 100 billion to the Silk Road Fund, and will encourage financial institutions to conduct overseas RMB fund business with an estimated amount of about RMB 300 billion.
“The China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China will set up special lending schemes respectively worth RMB 250 billion and RMB 130 billion to support Belt and Road cooperation on infrastructure, industrial capacity and financing. We will also work with the AIIB, the BRICS New Development Bank, the World Bank and other multilateral development institutions to support Belt and Road related projects. We will work with other parties concerned to jointly formulate guidelines for financing the Belt and Road related development projects,” he said.
Lastly Xi Jinping said during the two day forum, China would sign business and trade cooperation agreements with over 30 countries and enter into consultation on free trade agreements with related countries will also host the China International Import Expo starting from 2018.