BEIJING: Cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has been a key force driving global growth over the past decade as the global economy faces mounting challenges, including a sluggish recovery and rising protectionism.
Experts said remarkable achievements have been made in promoting trade and investment, improving global industrial and supply chains and promoting more balanced development since the BRI was proposed in 2013.
Infrastructure investment and trade and investment facilitation are the two main drivers of faster global economic growth, and the BRI has made huge contributions to both aspects, said He Weiwen, an expert at the China International Trade Association.
From 2013 to 2022, the cumulative value of imports and exports between China and the BRI countries was 19.1 trillion US dollars, with an average annual growth rate of 6.4%, according to a white paper released by the Information Bureau on Oct. 10 of the state council.
Total two-way investment between China and partner countries during this period was US$380 billion, including about US$240 billion from China, the white paper said.
Over the past decade, more than 3,000 BRI cooperation projects involving nearly US$1 trillion in investment have been launched.
Many of these projects, such as railways, bridges and pipelines, have helped to build an infrastructure network connecting sub-regions in Asia and the continents of Asia, Europe and Africa.
By improving infrastructure connectivity, BRI cooperation can reduce the cost of international trade and enable underdeveloped countries, especially landlocked ones, to participate in global trade and pursue economic development, said Liu Nanxing, an expert on international cooperation at the National Commission for development and reforms.
The interconnected infrastructure under the BRI has played an important role in maintaining the stability and smooth flow of global industrial and supply chains, said Hu Biliang, executive director of the Belt and Road School at Beijing Normal University.
In addition, it has provided energy and transportation facilities that underdeveloped and developing countries badly need to enable them to participate in global industrial and supply chains, Hu said.
By the end of June, China had signed industrial capacity cooperation agreements with more than 40 countries.
According to the white paper, Chinese companies have built more than 70 overseas industrial parks together with governments and companies in partner countries.
Citing the results of a World Bank survey, Wang Lei, a scholar from the School of Government at Beijing Normal University, said the proposed BRI transport network and the resulting increase in foreign direct investment can increase the gross domestic product growth of BRI countries by 0.09 percentage points. including a rise of 0.23 percentage points in sub-Saharan Africa.
By involving countries in different regions, at different stages of development and with different cultures, the BRI aimed for open and inclusive growth at a time when globalization dominated by a few developed countries has resulted in unbalanced economic development, experts said.
“The BRI is a key platform for boosting the global economy,” said Wang Fan, president of the China Foreign Affairs University, who pointed to a host of challenges facing prospects for global growth, including rising protectionism and volatility in the international environment. — Xinhua
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