“Belt and Road” Fo­rum for In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion Draws the World’s At­ten­tion

China's Foreign Trade (English) - - Focus - By Lily Wang

The “Belt and Road” Fo­rum for In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion (BRF) is China’s most im­por­tant diplo­matic event in the year of 2017, putting the world’s at­ten­tion on the or­ga­nizer, China.

Im­por­tant speeches at the Na­tional Con­ven­tion Cen­ter, a wel­come ban­quet at Great Hall of the Peo­ple, a splen­did per­for­mance at Na­tional Cen­ter for the Per­form­ing Arts, de­ci­sions made at Yanqi Lake, achieve­ments re­leased at the press con­fer­ences ... Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping’s key­note speeches at var­i­ous oc­ca­sions in sev­eral con­sec­u­tive days and won­der­ful state­ments from par­tic­i­pants, all of th­ese have drawn keen in­ter­est across the world and have es­tab­lished a hope bridge for con­nec­tiv­ity and win-win co­op­er­a­tion among var­i­ous coun­tries.

In par­tic­u­lar, at the round­table sum­mit all the par­ties con­cerned achieved sev­eral con­sen­suses and passed the joint com­mu­niqué for push­ing for­ward glob­al­iza­tion. In ad­di­tion, more than 270 achieve­ments were made at the Fo­rum.

Par­tic­i­pants and ex­perts at­tend­ing the Fo­rum said that the fruit­ful re­sults yielded have pro­vided strong sup­port for the “Belt and Road” con­struc­tion. As the re­sults are put into im­ple­men­ta­tion, the “Belt and Road” is en­ter­ing into a new phase and has ini­ti­ated a new era for the eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion.

The Belt and Road” ini­tia­tive orig­i­nated from China, but it be­longs to the whole world

As early as 2013, Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping put for­ward the “Belt and Road” ini­tia­tive with the core con­tent to pro­mote in­fra­struc­ture con­struc­tion and con­nec­tiv it y, com­mu­ni­cate and co­or­di­nate poli­cies and de­vel­op­ment strate­gies among var­i­ous coun­tries, deepen prac­ti­cal co­op­er­a­tion, pro­mote in­ter­con­nec­tion and move to­wards pros­per­ity.

At the round­table sum­mit held on May 15, Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping ex­plic­itly ex­pounded the pur­pose of the “Belt and Road” ini­tia­tive. Xi said, “This ini­tia­tive orig­i­nated from my ob­ser­va­tion and re­flec­tion on the world sit­u­a­tion. As nowa­days coun­tries have to de­pend on each other and global chal­lenges arise one af­ter another, no one coun­try is able to man­age alone or solve the prob­lems con­fronting the world. Only co­or­di­nat­ing poli­cies among coun­tries and in­te­grat­ing eco­nomic fac­tors and de­vel­op­ment re­sources across the world will cre­ate a syn­ergy to achieve world peace and mu­tual de­vel­op­ment. ”

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping stressed that the “Belt and Road” ini­tia­tive is rooted in the his­tory, but it faces to the fu­ture; the ini­tia­tive might have orig­i­nated in China, but in re­al­ity it be­longs to the en­tire world.

Ac­cord­ing to Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping, cross­ing dif­fer­ent re­gions, dif­fer­ent stages and dif­fer­ent civ­i­liza­tions, the “Belt and Road” is an open and in­clu­sive co­op­er­a­tion plat­form and a global public prod­uct jointly built by all par­ties. Fo­cus­ing on Eura­sia, the “Belt and Road” ini­tia­tive opens to all like­minded par­ties and ex­cludes no sin­gle party.

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping pointed out that China is spon­sor­ing the Fo­rum is to dis­cuss co­op­er­a­tion strat­egy, es­tab­lish co­op­er­a­tion plat­form and share co­op­er­a­tion achieve­ments in a bid to en­able the “Belt and Road” con­struc­tion to ben­e­fit all the peo­ple. Xi an­tic­i­pates that the Fo­rum will yield achieve­ments in terms of the fol­low­ing as­pects: “Firstly, to pro­mote mu­tual and win- win co­op­er­a­tion and de­fine the co­op­er­a­tion di­rec­tion. The key for wild goose to sur­vive storms lies in mu­tual sup­port. This re­veals an in- depth phi­los­o­phy for us to cope with chal­lenges and re­al­ize bet­ter de­vel­op­ment. With part­ner­ship spirit, we are sup­posed to firmly up­hold the prin­ci­ples of ne­go­ti­a­tion, co-build­ing and shar­ing and to strive for the ob­jec­tive of pol­icy com­mu­ni­ca­tion, fa­cilit y con­nec­tion, trade open­ness, easy finance and com­mon un­der­stand­ing among peo­ple. Se­condly, to pay close at­ten­tion to pol­icy co­or­di­na­tion and com­mu­ni­cate de­vel­op­ment strate­gies so as to cre­ate a syn­ergy. Thirly, to deepen prac­ti­cal co­op­er­a­tion based on projects in terms of in­fra­struc­ture fa­cil­ity con­nec­tion, real econ­omy co­op­er­a­tion, trade and in­vest­ment liberalization and fa­cil­i­ta­tion as well as fi­nanc­ing co­op­er­a­tion.

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping hopes all the par­ties will build con­sen­sus to seek a di­rec­tion and work out a blue­print for the “Belt and Road” in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion.

“Yanqi Lake is a place with a long his­tory. China’s Great Wall relics lies in the moun­tains out­side a nd t h is loc at ion may in­spi re thoughts and ini­ti­ate the co­op­er­a­tion jour­ney. Many peo­ple think that the ‘ Belt and Road’ is just like a pair of soar­ing wings. With Yanqi Lake as a new start­ing point, Let’s fly to the blue sky and f ly to the fu­ture with peace, de­vel­op­ment and win­win co­op­er­a­tion,” said Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping.

Global politi­cians and busi­ness­men all thumb up for the Belt and Road”

“The “Belt and Road” ini­tia­tive is the most in­no­va­tive public prod­uct in the world, widely draw­ing res­o­nance among par­tic­i­pants. Speak­ing of this, sec­re­tary-gen­eral of the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund La­garde quoted an old Chi­nese say­ing “one chop­stick can be eas­ily bro­ken off, but a bun­dle of chop­sticks may stick to­gether”. “Through col­lab­o­ra­tion, we have the chance to strengthen fi­nan­cial con­nec­tiv­ity and build coun­tries and re­gions like Asia into a pros­per­ous econ­omy.”

Ac­cord­ing to Roberto Azevêdo, sec­re­tar y- gen­eral of the World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion, “con­nec­tiv­ity” is first of all phys­i­cal con­nec­tiv­ity. “By the yea r 2030, de­vel­op­ing in­fra­struc­ture needs USD 26 tril­lion and that is why the ‘ Belt and Road’ is so im­por­tant and arises just at the right time,” Roberto re­gards that a proper su­per­vi­sion en­vi­ron­ment is also needed to pro­mote trade so as to sup­port con­nec­tiv­ity.

Ssaeed, Min­is­ter of the Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Min­ist r y of the Mal­dives said that so far the “Belt and Road” ini­tia­tive has made re­mark­able progress and par­tic­u­larly pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping has made very con­struc­tive speeches at the sum­mit, of­fer­ing many con­crete sug­ges­tions for fu­ture de­vel­op­ment. Ssaeed ex­pects to take this sum­mit as a good op­por­tu­nity to

fur­ther deepen co­op­er­a­tion in such sec­tors like trade and ex­pects that the bi­lat­eral re­la­tion will have a brighter fu­ture.

Roger·joseph·khouri, an of­fi­cial of the Re­pub­lic of Le­banon dis­closed that the coun­try will sign a se­ries of co­op­er­a­tion agree­ments with China in do­mains like cul­ture and trade. Un­der the “Belt and Road” frame­work, Khouri be­lieves that there will be in­creas­ingly more op­por­tu­ni­ties for bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion. It is in­tro­duced that many Chi­nese com­pa­nies have set­tled in Le­banon. “As Le­banon is a small coun­try with less ad­vanced man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor than China, Le­banon has im­ported many prod­ucts from China, in­clud­ing ma­chin­ery, tex­tile and glass prod­ucts,” said Khouri.

Vice Pres­i­dent Bo• Bendt­sen of COWI from Den­mark said that the Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping de­liv­ered a quite in­spir­ing speech at the open­ing cer­e­mony with def­i­nite pol­icy di­rec­tion. Bendt­sen him­self places em­pha­sis on the cap­i­tal rais­ing is­sue for in­fra­struc­ture con­struc­tion and pro­duc­tion con­struc­tion. In the course of push­ing for­ward the “Belt and Road” projects, he hopes that the Chi­nese econ­omy may con­front com­pe­ti­tion in the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket with a more open at­ti­tude.

Chi­nese com­pa­nies play a cru­cial role in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the “Belt and Road” ini­tia­tive. Xu Lirong, Pres­i­dent of China COSCO Ship­ping Cor­po­ra­tion said that “our com­pany fo­cuses on pro­vid­ing trade con­nec­tiv­ity and en­sur­ing smooth ser­vices along the global com­pre­hen­sive lo­gis­tics sup­ply chain”. There­fore, the “Belt and Road” has pointed out a very clear di­rec­tion for us: with con­nect­ing global ports and wharfs as the ob­jec­tive, a global strat­egy and con­nec­tion be­tween the com­pa­nies and the lo­cal mar­kets will help to de­velop mar­itime co­op­er­a­tion re­la­tions.”

Chair­man of the Board of Di­rec­tors of the Alibaba Group Ma Yun said that “Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping stressed in the key­note speech co-build­ing is not to make a fresh start by deny­ing oth­ers and be­com­ing ego­is­tic, which is fun­da­men­tally why the ‘ Belt and Road’ ini­tia­tive has earned the whole world’s recog­ni­tion and why so many coun­tries may sit to­gether,” Mr. Ma is look­ing for­ward to the dig­i­tal silk road, “as an In­ter­net com­pany and as a pi­o­neer for cloud com­put­ing and big data, Alibaba can­not stand in­dif­fer­ent.”

Eco­nomic and trade co­op­er­a­tion ush­ers in a new era

Dur­ing the sum­mit fo­rum, a se­ries of com­pa­nies have signed big con­tracts. Apart from the com­pa­nies run by the cen­tral gov­ern­ment, many lo­cal com­pa­nies, pri­vate com­pa­nies and listed com­pa­nies said that the “Belt and Road ” have ex­panded the ma rket and they have a lso iden­ti­fied more and more busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties.

This year’s sum­mit has also yielded very fruit­ful achieve­ments in the eco­nomic and trade do­main: in the up­com­ing five years, China will im­port over USD 8 tril­lion com­modi­ties, make for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment of over USD 750 bil­lion and con­trib­ute an out­bound tourist group of more than 500 mil­lion, which will bring tremen­dous busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties for the whole world. Re­gard­ing the se­ries of mea­sures to push for­ward the “Belt and Road” trade con­nec­tiv­ity, achieve­ments in­clude “China is ex­pected to im­port USD 2 tril­lion com­modi­ties from coun­tries and re­gions along the ‘ Belt and Road ’ in the up­com­ing f ive years”, “since the year of 2018, China will hold China In­ter­na­tional Im­port Expo” and “China will sign eco­nomic and trade co­op­er­a­tion agree­ments with over 30 coun­tries and co­op­er­ate with the coun­tries along the ‘ Belt and Road’ for 100 trade and in­vest­ment projects”.

Dur­ing the Fo­rum, the Min­istry of Com­merce re­leased Co­op­er­a­tion Ini­tia­tive on Pro­mot­ing the “Belt and Road” Trade Fa­cil­i­ta­tion (here­inafter re­ferred to as Trade Fa­cil­i­ta­tion Co­op­er­a­tion Ini­tia­tive) jointly with the rel­e­vant de­part­ments and in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions from over 60 coun­tries at­tend­ing the BRF, declar­ing the com­mon ground to the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity for sup­port­ing eco­nomic glob­al­iza­tion.

In ad­di­tion, i n t e rms o f com­mu­ni­cat­ing poli­cies and de­vel­op­ment strate­gies, pro­mot­ing eco­nomic cor­ri­dor con­struc­tion, strength­en­ing ma­jor project co­op­er­a­tion and in­creas­ing cap­i­tal sup­port, many new mea­sures have been pro­posed, in­clud­ing in­creas­ing RMB 100 bil­lion to the Silk Road Fund and en­cour­ag­ing fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions to carry out Chi­nese yuan over­seas fund busi­ness with an ex­pected scale of RMB 300 bil­lion. China De­vel­op­ment Bank and Ex­portIm­port Bank will pro­vide spe­cial loans of RMB 250 bil­lion and RMB 130 bil­lion re­spec­tively for the “Belt and Road” re­lated co­op­er­a­tion.

Long Guoqi a ng , De put y Di­rec­tor of the De­vel­op­ment Re­search Cen­ter of the State Coun­cil pointed out that the “Belt and Road” has un­doubt­edly brought abun­dant busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties for the com­pa­nies. The first ben­e­fi­ciary is in­fra­struc­ture con­struc­tion. Most of the coun­tries a long the “Belt and Road ” a re de­vel­op­ing coun­tries with in­fra­struc­ture con­struc­tion as the pri­or­i­tized do­main. Then comes next is the op­por­tu­nity to carry out im­port and ex­port trade and fi­nally is in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties. The coun­tries along the “Belt and Road” prom­ise tremen­dous po­ten­tial and the Chi­nese com­pa­nies are in the peak of “go­ing global” with in­vest­ments are in full swing in the agri­cul­ture, min­ing, man­u­fac­tur­ing and ser­vice in­dus­tries.

Dear Friends and Read­ers of the China’s For­eign Trade Mag­a­zine: It is with great plea­sure that I com­mu­ni­cate with you sev­eral days be­fore the open­ing of the Belt and Road Fo­rum, a piv­otal in­ter­na­tional event of car­di­nal im­por­tance for our two coun­tries and peo­ple and for the whole world. Over the last years, our bi­lat­eral re­la­tions, po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic and cul­tural, are ad­vanc­ing fast and are be­com­ing stronger and deeper to the ben­e­fit of both our na­tions. Greece, a bea­con of sta­bil­ity and pros­per­ity in South - Eastern Europe, has ea­gerly em­braced China’s Belt and Road ini­tia­tive, ad­vanc­ing con­nec­tiv­ity not just through trade and in­vest­ment, but also by pro­mot­ing peo­ple-to-peo­ple ex­changes and cul­tural di­a­logue, along the Mod­ern Silk Roads link­ing China to Europe. Greece has rec­og­nized the com­pre­hen­sive and cul­tural value of this en­deavor as well as its po­ten­tial role in fa­vor of peace and sta­bil­ity, and is ea­ger to work with China in build­ing a com­mu­nity of shared fu­ture for all hu­mankind. The Belt and Road ini­tia­tive is a long-term strate­gic, open-ended en­deavor, launched by the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment and Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping, and sub­se­quently sup­ported by nu­mer­ous na­tions, in­volv­ing more than 70 coun­tries, and 4 bil­lion peo­ple, ac­count­ing for about 1/3 of the world’s to­tal GDP. It is based on syn­ergy, in­clu­sive­ness, win-win strate­gies, equal­ity, col­lec­tive ef­fort and de­ci­sion mak­ing; in short, a vi­sion­ary, holis­tic and ground break­ing ef­fort which pur­ports to build not a new em­pire but a flex­i­ble net­work of equal part­ners, aim­ing at boost­ing growth and sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment. Greece as one of the core par­tic­i­pants of the Belt and Road ini­tia­tive, es­pe­cially along the new Mar­itime Silk Roads (as ev­i­denced by our suc­cess­ful co­op­er­a­tion with COSCO in the Port of Pi­raeus and be­yond) is com­mit­ted in the suc­cess of this ini­tia­tive. The BRF sum­mit, co­in­cides with two im­por­tant events that will mark our bi­lat­eral re­la­tions this year:

First, the open­ing of the An­cient Civ­i­liza­tions Fo­rum on April 24th in Athens, a Greek ini­tia­tive ac­tively sup­ported by China and in­volv­ing 10 coun­tries, with the aim of serv­ing as a plat­form where all par­tic­i­pants can com­mu­ni­cate and learn from each other so as to achieve com­mon pros­per­ity and de­vel­op­ment. As For­eign Min­is­ter Wang Yi said in Athens, “The An­cient Civ­i­liza­tion Fo­rum and the Road and Belt Ini­tia­tive can be es­sen­tially traced to the same ori­gin”. The fo­rum has pro­vided dy­namism in both thought and cul­ture for the Belt and Road ini­tia­tive. Sec­ond, the of­fi­cial in­au­gu­ra­tion of the Greece- China Cul­tural Ex­changes and Cul­tural In­dus­try Co­op­er­a­tion Year in Athens last week, in the pres­ence of the Greek Min­is­ter of Cul­ture Ms. Ko­nior­dou and the head of the Pub­lic­ity Depart­ment of the Com­mu­nist Party of China, Mr Liu Qibao, un­der­scor­ing the piv­otal role played by cul­tural links in our bi­lat­eral strate­gic co­op­er­a­tion in many other fields, such as econ­omy, trade and tourism. I take this op­por­tu­nity to wish the forth­com­ing Belt and Road fo­rum full suc­cess!

H.e.leonidas C. Rokanas Am­bas­sador of Greece to China

Dis­tin­guished Reader: In Hun­gary we se­ri­ously be­lieve that mu­tual trust and re­spect on both sides, as well as sup­port­ing each other’s core in­ter­ests and tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion each other’s ma­jor con­cerns pro­vide the es­sen­tial ba­sis of fruit­ful bi­lat­eral re­la­tions were es­tab­lished. with China, which we have suc­cess­fully built to­gether dur­ing the 68 years, since our diplo­matic re­la­tions were es­tab­lished. Be­sides the ex­cel­lent po­lit­i­cal ties be­tween Hun­gary and China, sta­tis­tics show that eco­nomic re­la­tions are also ad­vanc­ing con­sis­tently. China has be­come Hun­gary’s largest trad­ing part­ner out­side the Euro­pean Union. Over the last few years, we have cre­ated one of Europe’s most com­pet­i­tive in­vest­ment en­vi­ron­ment in Hun­gary, which has sig­nif­i­cantly con­trib­uted to be­com­ing the top des­ti­na­tion coun­try of Chi­nese in­vest­ments in Cen­tral Eastern Europe, as well as be­com­ing a re­gional fi­nan­cial hub. Hun­gary con­sid­ers the ‘ Belt and Road’ ini­tia­tive as a grand civ­i­liza­tion project and has a sim­i­lar view as China, namely that the con­cept is a com­mon as­pi­ra­tion to all coun­tries along the routes. Hun­gary is pleased and ea­ger to move for­ward in the di­rec­tion of prac­ti­cal co­op­er­a­tion. This com­mit­ment has al­ready re­sulted in be­com­ing the first ‘ Belt and Road’ coun­try in Europe by sign­ing the MOU with China on “Jointly Build­ing The Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt And The 21st Cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road” in 2015, and also be­com­ing the first – among more than a 100 coun­tries and in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions in the world that ac­tively par­tic­i­pate and sup­port the “Belt and Road” ini­tia­tive – to es­tab­lish and launch the “Belt and Road” work­ing group mech­a­nism with China in 2016. Based on the fre­quent high-level po­lit­i­cal and busi­ness vis­its, which pro­vide the foun­da­tion of po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic re­la­tions, we aim for sus­tained high level growth in the fields of trade, in­vest­ment and tourism. We also strive to fur­ther de­velop co­op­er­a­tion with China in the pri­or­ity ar­eas of the re­cent re-in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion pro­gram of Hun­gary, which are the fields of ve­hi­cle man­u­fac­tur­ing, man­u­fac­tur­ing of spe­cial­ized ma­chin­ery and equip­ment, health in­dus­try and health tourism, food in­dus­try, green econ­omy and in­fo­com­mu­ni­ca­tion in­dus­try. I would like to take this op­por­tu­nity to wish the Belt and Road Fo­rum for In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion a great suc­cess.

On be­half of the Gov­ern­ment and peo­ple of In­done­sia, I would like to warmly con­grat­u­late China for or­ga­niz­ing of the In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion Sum­mit Fo­rum on the Belt and Road ini­tia­tive. May this Sum­mit Fo­rum fur­ther en­hance the un­der­stand­ing and co­op­er­a­tion among re­lated coun­tries, as we strive to strengthen con­nec­tiv­ity in this era of glob­al­iza­tion based on non-con­flict, mu­tual re­spect and win-win prin­ci­ples.

H.e.soe­geng Ra­hardjo Am­bas­sador of the Re­pub­lic of In­done­sia to the Peo­ple’s Re­pub­lic of China

mar­itime silk route, he stopped in Sri Lanka, where he recorded the avail­abil­ity of sap­phires, ru­bies, topazes, amethysts and gar­nets in the is­land. He stated that “the king of Sri Lanka pos­sesses the most beau­ti­ful ruby that can be seen, has ever been seen or is likely to be seen in the whole world” and that the Em­peror of China had sent en­voys to pur­chase this ruby, of­fer­ing to pay the value of a city in re­turn. This is only one of many ex­am­ples that his­tory has recorded of the an­cient re­la­tion­ship be­tween China and Sri Lanka. Another can be found in the 5th cen­tury rock paint­ings at the UNESCO World Her­itage site of Si­giriyain Sri Lanka. The dresses worn by the women de­picted in its fa­mous Fresco paint­ings are said to be made of Chi­nese silks, which makes the lat­ter one of the first items ex­ported from China to Sri Lanka many cen­turies ago. Yet another in­stance of the two coun­tries’ close re­la­tions are the vis­its made to Sri Lanka by cel­e­brated nav­i­ga­tor Zheng He. He erected a trilin­gual stone tablet at a re­li­gious site in the South­ern Province of Sri Lanka and ap­pealed for Bud­dhist, Hindu and Is­lamic blessings, mak­ing of­fer­ings of gold, sil­ver and Chi­nese Silk. Th­ese were no doubt items of trade at the time. When we fast for­ward to mod­ern times, we find the newly in­de­pen­dent mod­ern na­tions of Sri Lanka and China sign­ing the his­tor­i­cal Rub­ber-rice Trade Agree­ment in 1952. Cur­rent trade vol­umes be­tween our two coun­tries ex­ceeds US$ 4 bil­lion. I be­lieve that there will be even more op­por­tu­ni­ties for re­la­tions be­tween the two na­tions with the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the con­sen­sus of lead­ers at their round­table de­lib­er­a­tions dur­ing the Belt and Road In­ter­na­tional Fo­rum. Co­in­ci­den­tally, this year China and Sri Lanka cel­e­brate their 65th An­niver­sary of Trade Re­la­tions in the mod­ern era, in ad­di­tion to their 60th An­niver­sary of Diplo­matic Re­la­tions. Sri Lanka’s join­ing of the Belt and Road Fo­rum for In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion is an apt way to cel­e­brate this his­tor­i­cal mo­ment. I sin­cerely wish this event great suc­cess.

H.E.DR. Karunasena Kodi­tuwakku Am­bas­sador of Sri Lanka to China

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