In visit to Poland, Xi links Silk Road with Am­ber Road

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

OUR CORRESPONDENT BEI­JING—Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping on Tues­day con­cluded his state visit to Poland, the sec­ond leg of his three-na­tion Eurasia tour.

Dur­ing his stay in Poland, which started on Sun­day, Xi reached agree­ments with his Pol­ish coun­ter­part, An­drzej Duda, on pro­mot­ing eco­nomic ties within China’s Belt and Road and Poland’s Am­ber Road frame­works, as the two coun­tries seek new mar­kets and fron­tiers for their de­vel­op­ment strate­gies.

The most vis­ually im­pres­sive mo­ment of the visit came on Mon­day af­ter­noon, when an ex­press freight train, with whis­tles blow­ing, slowly pulled into a cargo ter­mi­nal in War­saw. All the containers on board were painted with the uni­form logo of CHINA RAILWAY Ex­press.

Xi and Duda wit­nessed the mo­ment on site, which marked the ar­rival of the first such trains from China along tracks that go as far as 10,000 kilo­me­ters to the coast of the west Pa­cific.

The new fam­ily brand con­sol­i­dated the some­times con­fus­ing China-Europe freights’ brands, which ply the route of the an­cient Silk Road.

China-Europe freight rail trans­port has be­come the poster boy of China-Poland eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion. Nearly all such trans-con­ti­nen­tal trains from China go through Poland, which sits in the very cen­ter of Europe.

Such ge­o­log­i­cal ad­van­tage has put Poland on a unique po­si­tion in the China-pro­posed Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, which com­prises the Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt and the 21stCen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road and aims at build­ing a trade and in­fra­struc­ture net­work con­nect­ing Asia with Europe and Africa.

The freight trains got not only a photo op­por­tu­nity in the visit. Xi, Duda and Pol­ish Prime Min­is­ter Beata Szydlo all talked about the rail ser­vice on mul­ti­ple oc­ca­sions.

With reg­u­lar ser­vice, the trains will be­come a fa­cil­i­ta­tor in two-way trade be­tween China and Europe. Krzysztof Janeczko, a project man­ager in Ha­trans Lo­gis­tics com­pany in the railway hub of Lodz, said they over­saw two freight trains from China each week, and more and more Euro­pean com­pa­nies are con­tact­ing them to trans­port goods to China via trains.

At an eco­nomic fo­rum on Mon­day at­tended by Xi, Szydlo noted that China is the start­ing point of the Silk Road, while Poland is the start­ing point of Am­ber Road, which links the Baltic and the Black Sea re­gions. He added that dur­ing Xi’s visit, the two coun­tries have inked co­op­er­a­tion agree­ments that could ef­fec­tively link the two trad­ing routes, bring­ing China closer to the doorsteps of Europe.

Dur­ing Xi’s visit, lead­ers of the two coun­tries talked about syn­er­giz­ing de­vel­op­ment strate­gies, while the Pol­ish busi­ness com­mu­nity is more con­cerned about what China means for the na­tion’s econ­omy.

Wo­j­ciech Mazurkiewicz, a port­fo­lio man­ager at TFI PZU SA, an in­vest­ment com­pany, said that his com­pany is look­ing to in­vest in cor­po­rate bonds in China, and ac­tively seek­ing busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties to fa­cil­i­tate the Chi­nese in­vest­ment in the Cen­tral and Eastern Euro­pean (CEE) re­gion. “China is be­com­ing richer and richer. It is also ex­port­ing its cap­i­tal,” said Mazurkiewicz. “Apart from be­ing a transportation hub, Poland can be one of the fi­nan­cial hubs in this re­gion for Chi­nese cap­i­tal.”

Be­sides fi­nance, an area Xi and Duda vowed to ex­plore, they also agreed that the two coun­tries should ex­pand co­op­er­a­tion in agri­cul­ture, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion, ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy, avi­a­tion and new en­ergy.

Poland has been one of the most ro­bust economies in Europe. With bi­lat­eral trade with China reach­ing 17.1 bil­lion U.S. dol­lars in 2015, it has be­come China’s largest trad­ing part­ner in the CEE re­gion, and China Poland’s largest in Asia. Ex­pand­ing eco­nomic in­ter­ac­tion with the global eco­nomic pow­er­house of China can be a boon to Poland.

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