China recently released a white paper titled “The Belt and Road Initiative: A Key Pillar of the Global Community of Shared Future.”The white paper, comprised of preamble, five chapters and a conclusion, presents the achievements of the BRI over the last 10 years, aiming to provide the international community with a better understanding of the value of the initiative, facilitate high-quality cooperation, and deliver benefits to more countries and peoples.
Since its launch in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative has been welcomed by the international community as both a public good and a cooperation platform. The following are the key takeaways from the white paper, including some of the highlights and major achievements of BRI cooperation over the past decade.
According to the white paper, the ultimate goal of the BRI is to help build a global community with a shared future. The BRI involves countries in different world regions, at different development stages, and with different cultures. It transcends differences in ideologies and social systems.It enables different countries to share opportunities, realize common development and prosperity, and build a community of shared interests, responsibility and destiny characterized by mutual political trust, economic integration and cultural inclusiveness.
As a practical means of building a global community with a shared future, the BRI has brought new understanding, inspired the world’s imagination, and contributed new ideas and new approaches to international exchanges.
PRINCIPLES, CONCEPTS, OBJECTIVES, VISION
The BRI was founded on the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. It advocates win-win cooperation in pursuit of shared interests and the greater good. It emphasizes that all countries are equal participants, contributors and beneficiaries, and encourages economic integration, interconnected development and the sharing of achievements.
The BRI is committed to the concept of open, green and clean cooperation on inclusive and sustainable development. It has zero tolerance for corruption, and promotes steady and high-quality growth.It aims for high standards and sustainability, and to improve lives by raising cooperation standards, investment effectiveness, supply quality and development resilience, delivering real and substantive results for all participants.
The BRI envisions a path to global well-being. As an initiative working for progress, cooperation and inclusiveness, it pursues development, promotes win-win outcomes and inspires hope. It aims to deepen understanding and trust, strengthen comprehensive exchanges, and ultimately achieve common development and shared prosperity.
MAJOR ACHIEVEMENTS OVER LAST DECADE
- BRI partners
By June 2023, China had signed more than 200 BRI cooperation agreements with more than 150 countries and 30 international organizations across five continents, yielding a number of signature projects and small-scale yet impactful projects.
- High-level forums
China has hosted the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation twice, providing an important platform for participating countries and international organizations to expand exchanges, increase mutual trust and strengthen ties. China will host the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation from Oct. 17 to 18 in Beijing.
- Infrastructure connectivity
Substantial progress is being made in the construction of six economic corridors: the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the New Eurasian Land Bridge Economic Corridor, the China-Indochina Peninsula Economic Corridor, the China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor, the China-Central Asia-West Asia Economic Corridor and the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor. And in Africa, railways such as the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway and the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway are now operational and have become important drivers of in-depth development in East Africa and across the entire continent.
- Maritime connectivity
The Maritime Silk Road network has continued to expand. By the end of June 2023, it had reached 117 ports in 43 countries, and more than 300 well-known Chinese and international shipping companies, port enterprises and think tanks, among other organizations, have joined the “Silk Road Maritime” association.
- Air connectivity
China has signed bilateral air transport agreements with 104 BRI partner countries and opened direct flight routes with 57 partner countries to facilitate cross-border transport.
- International inter-modality transport
The China-Europe Railway Express now reaches more than 200 cities in 25 European countries. By the end of June 2023, the cumulative volume of the China-Europe Railway Express had exceeded 74,000 trips, transporting nearly 7 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) and over 50,000 types of goods in 53 categories, including automobiles, mechanical equipment and electronic products, with a total value of more than 300 billion U.S. dollars. Rail-sea freight train routes on the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor cover 18 provinces and equivalent administrative units in central and western China, transporting goods to more than 300 ports in over 100 countries.
- Trade and investment
From 2013 to 2022, the cumulative value of imports and exports between China and BRI partner countries was 19.1 trillion U.S. dollars, with an average annual growth rate of 6.4 percent. Cumulative two-way investment between China and partner countries came in at 380 billion U.S. dollars during the period, including some 240 billion U.S. dollars from China. By the end of August 2023, more than 80 countries and international organizations had subscribed to the Initiative on Promoting Unimpeded Trade Cooperation Along the Belt and Road, which was proposed by China. And China had signed 21 free trade agreements with 28 countries and regions.
- Industrial cooperation
By the end of June 2023, China had signed agreements on industrial capacity cooperation with more than 40 countries. These countries have promoted cooperation on industrial capacity, expanded cooperation in traditional industries such as steel, non-ferrous metals, building materials, automobiles, engineering machinery, agriculture, and resources and energy, and explored cooperation in emerging industries such as the digital economy, new energy vehicles, 5G, and nuclear energy and technology.
- Financial cooperation
By the end of June 2023, a total of 13 Chinese-funded banks had established 145 first-tier offices and branches in 50 BRI partner countries, some 17.7 million businesses in 131 partner countries had opened UnionPay banking services, and 74 partner countries had opened UnionPay mobile payment services. China has signed bilateral currency-swap agreements with 20 partner countries and established renminbi (RMB) clearing arrangements in 17 partner countries. China has funded the establishment of the Silk Road Fund (SRF) and opened the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) with other participating countries. By the end of June 2023, the SRF had signed agreements on 75 projects with committed investment of about 22 billion U.S. dollars, there were 106 AIIB members, and the bank had approved 227 projects with a total investment of 43.6 billion U.S. dollars.
- Culture and tourism cooperation
By the end of June 2023, China had signed cultural and tourism cooperation documents with 144 BRI partner countries.Green development — China has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the United Nations Environment Programme on building a green Belt and Road for 2017-2022, reached environmental cooperation agreements with more than 30 countries and international organizations, launched the Initiative for Belt and Road Partnership on Green Development together with 31 countries, and formed the Belt and Road Initiative International Green Development Coalition with more than 150 partners from 40-plus countries.
- Scientific and technological innovation
By the end of June 2023, China had signed intergovernmental agreements on scientific and technological cooperation with more than 80 BRI partner countries. Since 2013, China has hosted more than 10,000 young scientists from partner countries to carry out short-term research and exchanges in China, and trained more than 16,000 technicians and management professionals for partner countries. China has established nine cross-border technology transfer platforms targeting ASEAN, South Asia, the Arab states, Africa, Latin America and other regions since 2013, assisted 22 African countries in building 23 agricultural technology demonstration centers, and established over 50 joint BRI laboratories in areas such as agriculture, new energy and health.
- The Digital Silk Road
By the end of 2022, China had signed MoUs on the construction of the Digital Silk Road with 17 countries, on e-commerce cooperation with 30 countries, and on closer digital economy investment cooperation with 18 countries and regions.Poverty reduction — China has signed more than 100 agricultural and fishery cooperation documents with almost 90 BRI countries and international organizations. It has dispatched more than 2,000 agricultural experts and technicians to over 70 countries and regions, and introduced more than 1,500 agricultural technologies and crops such as Juncao grass and hybrid rice to many of these countries. It has aided rural poverty reduction in Asia, Africa, the South Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, developing modern agriculture and helping increase farming incomes.
- Boosting employment
In the process of BRI cooperation, China has helped participating countries construct industrial parks and provided guidance for Chinese enterprises to create jobs for locals through high-level industrial cooperation. A McKinsey survey has revealed that Chinese firms in Africa recruit 89 percent of their employees locally, effectively contributing to local employment. The World Bank has estimated that by 2030, BRI-related investment could lift 7.6 million people out of extreme poverty and 32 million out of moderate poverty.
Source: Qiushi, 2023-10-13. http://en.qstheory.cn/2023-10/13/c_930287.htm