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Report maps out development of BRI

By Ouyang Shijia in Beijing and Shi Jing in Shanghai | | Updated: 2023-11-24 23:45
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A China-Europe freight train departs from the city of Jinhua, East China's Zhejiang province. [File photo/]

China will take more steps, such as advancing cooperation in new fields of green and digital development, to promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation in the next decade, as it seeks to create an open, inclusive and interconnected world for common development, according to a new report.

Officials and experts said the Belt and Road Initiative has already become the world's largest platform for international cooperation, playing an increasingly important role in contributing to global development and prosperity.

Looking ahead, they said China will actively work with all parties to support multilateralism and free trade, and expect to see more efforts to promote the green and digital development of the BRI.

According to the new document formulated by the Office of the Leading Group for Promoting the Belt and Road Initiative, in the next decade, China will mainly extend BRI cooperation in key fields including policy coordination, infrastructure connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration, people-to-people ties and cooperation in new fields.

Titled "Vision and Actions for High-Quality Belt and Road Cooperation: Brighter Prospects for the Next Decade", the document said that China will make more efforts to advance the alignment of rules and standards, strengthen international exchanges and cooperation in e-commerce, enhance bilateral investment cooperation and explore new investment and financing channels.

"China has signed BRI cooperation agreements with more than 150 countries and over 30 international organizations," said Xu Jianping, director of the Department of Regional Opening-up at the National Development and Reform Commission.

Xu told a news conference on Friday in Beijing that the BRI has become a popular platform for offering international products and international cooperation since its inception 10 years ago, injecting new impetus into global development and prosperity.

According to a white paper recently published by China's State Council Information Office, from 2013 to 2022, the cumulative value of imports and exports between China and BRI countries reached $19.1 trillion, with an average annual growth rate of 6.4 percent.

During that period, cumulative two-way investment between China and partner countries reached more than $380 billion, including over $240 billion from China.

Despite challenges and uncertainties from a more complicated global environment, Xu said he still had an optimistic view of the further development of the BRI, considering the solid foundations for international cooperation, BRI countries' increased need for expanding green, digital, health and innovation cooperation, as well as China's complete industrial system.

"China is one of the most important players in the global economy. I think trade with China has led to tremendous wealth for economies across the globe," said Victor Stolzenburg, research economist at the Economic Research and Statistics Division of the World Trade Organization.

Citing China's ongoing efforts to support multilateralism and promote high-standard opening-up, he said there have been very positive effects on other economies.

"We have to remember this is not a zero-sum game. If you open up to trade, everyone wins. It was a huge gain to the Chinese economy, but it's also a huge gain to workers and consumers all over the world," he added.

Looking to the future, he said there still remains a lot of scope and potential for China's further opening-up, adding that more efforts should be made to promote opening-up in the services sector.

During Friday's news conference, Zhou Zhongguo, deputy director of the Ministry of Commerce's Comprehensive Affairs Department, said he sees huge potential and broad prospects for boosting trade in services with BRI countries.

He said more efforts will be made to introduce a batch of opening-up measures, such as speeding up the formulation of a negative list for cross-border trade in services.

With regard to improving financial cooperation mechanisms and exploring new investment and financing channels. Wang Weigang, CEO of Shenzhen Junan Changsheng Investment Management Inc, suggested that BRICS countries can set up a currency reserve mechanism and promote it among countries and regions participating in the BRI.

Financial products based on this mechanism can be rolled out for investors all over the world, such as renminbi-denominated products. In this way, RMB assets can help facilitate the economic growth and financial stability of Belt and Road countries, he said.

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