China’s Belt and Road fosters faith in economic cooperation

China’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), the world’s largest international cooperation platform with an increasing number of members, is expected to make more contributions to global economic recovery.

China’s unwavering efforts to promote joint construction of the BRI will convey more confidence and strength to the international community on global economic cooperation despite rising external uncertainties and challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic and geopolitical conflicts, analysts and experts said.

The remarks came after Sheng Qiuping, assistant minister of commerce, said at a recent news briefing in Beijing the nation will continue to promote high-quality global cooperation under the BRI through work to consolidate the fundamentals of the initiative, expand new areas of cooperation and construct flagship projects.

A Chinese engineer (right) with Beijing-based China Construction Second Engineering Bureau instructs a local employee at a bulk water supply pipeline construction site in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2020. [Provided to China Daily] 

“We will further tap the potential of trade with economies along the Belt and Road and encourage more imports of quality goods. We will continue to expand three-party and multi-party market cooperation to promote smooth connectivity between industrial and supply chains,” Sheng said. “We will speed up building a network of free trade areas covering more BRI economies and promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation.”

China will proactively promote cooperation in many areas, including digital trade, new infrastructure, new energy, energy conservation, environmental protection and green infrastructure, as countries across the globe are increasingly willing to cooperate in the areas of digital economy and low-carbon economy, he said.

Analysts said the BRI is inclusive and offers a trusted international platform for countries and regions around the world to join hands to seek new growth impetus while respecting each other’s differences. That is especially important as the world economy is still suffering from stressed supply chains and weakened expectations, they said.

“Under the current circumstances, global economic and trade cooperation faces greater challenges from the instability of supply chains to the loss of confidence in cooperation,” said Zhou Mi, a senior researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.

“The BRI is very important to facilitate the acceleration of the global economic recovery due to its inclusiveness that allows for adjustments in accordance with these new situations,” Zhou said.

For instance, China has been playing an important role in the global fight against the pandemic and the facilitation of resumption of production and business in other countries by providing quality goods and services, thanks to its effective control of COVID-19 and stable economic growth, he added.

Sheng said China will focus on agriculture, poverty alleviation, sanitation, health and other fields and prioritize the construction of more “small and beautiful” projects to enhance the sense of gain among people in host countries.

At the same time, the country will actively push for the China-Europe rail cargo transport to develop jointly with various cooperation zones and to integrate new business models such as cross-border e-commerce and overseas warehouses.

China will also diversify cooperation mechanisms with other countries, continue to hold major international and regional expos, improve the standard of economic and trade exchanges and cooperation at all levels, and provide better services and guarantees for the joint building of the BRI. It will also promote international anti-pandemic cooperation, strengthen various risk assessments, monitoring and early warnings, and better regulate Chinese enterprises’ business activities overseas, he said.

Wu Huimin, managing director of the CICC Global Institute, spoke highly of the achievements the BRI has made in many areas, including green infrastructure, green energy and green finance.

Wu suggested China widen its cooperation with BRI economies in addressing climate change through efforts such as proactively utilizing green finance to increase green investment and establishing an international green development exchange platform to promote global development in areas like green energy, green technology and green manufacturing.

Efforts such as encouraging capable Chinese renewable enterprises to go global and to take a bigger role under the green BRI should also be included, she said.

Lin Shen, a researcher with the Institute of World Economics and Politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said as the world’s largest developing country, China understands the needs of a large number of developing countries along the Belt and Road for economic development.

The experiences and technologies China has accumulated during its economic development, especially in the areas of the digital economy and the low-carbon economy, are especially helpful to meet product and service demand of other developing countries, while China’s huge domestic market also facilitates export growth of BRI economies, Lin said.

Liu Haitao, project manager of bulk water supply pipeline construction with an installation company of China Construction Second Engineering Bureau for a local water supply construction project in Nairobi, Kenya, said the potential of cooperation between China and the economies along the Belt and Road is huge as most BRI economies have great economic growth potential, and the company sees ample project opportunities in BRI economies.

The water supply construction project he works for, once completed, will increase water supply in Nairobi by 5,000 cubic meters per day, benefiting nearly 3 million people, Liu said.

 Source: Quishi, 2022-03-15.