BRI fa­cil­i­tates eco­nomic ties

Co­op­er­a­tion re­vi­tal­izes an­cient trade routes

Global Times US Edition - - BIZUPDATE -

With China now a ma­jor con­trib­u­tor to global growth, de­vel­op­ment of the China-pro­posed Belt and Road ini­tia­tive (BRI) could help strengthen links within the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions (ASEAN), South Asia and China, said Stan­dard Char­tered Global Re­search in a re­port re­leased on Wed­nes­day.

China’s eco­nomic re­la­tion­ship with the re­gion has deep­ened in the past decade, and the im­proved trade is the most ob­vi­ous in­di­ca­tor of the closer re­la­tion­ship, the re­search house high­lighted.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, im­ports from ASEAN and South Asia ac­counted for 14 per­cent of China’s to­tal im­ports in 2017, com­pared to 10 per­cent in 2000.

Mean­while, ex­ports to the area made up 16 per­cent of China’s to­tal ex­ports in 2017, dou­ble 8 per­cent in 2000.

“Lower cost of lo­gis­tics is an­other key rea­son for the re­gion to in­crease con­nec­tiv­ity. In ad­di­tion, the longterm growth out­look for the re­gion and for China re­mains up­beat, which should gen­er­ate fur­ther trad­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties,” it said.

The re­port also said that the BRI has gen­er­ated sig­nif­i­cant in­ter­est among coun­tries in the re­gion, given their sub­stan­tial in­fra­struc­ture needs and China’s ca­pa­bil­ity in pro­vid­ing ex­per­tise to de­liver large-scale in­fra­struc­ture projects.

Be­sides the al­lure of in­fra­struc­ture, it opined that China’s in­creas­ing eco­nomic in­flu­ence in the re­gion has also sparked in­ter­est in the other goals of the ini­tia­tive, in­clud­ing en­hanced and broader con­nec­tiv­ity – in pol­icy co­or­di­na­tion, unim­peded trade, fi­nan­cial in­te­gra­tion and “peo­ple-to-peo­ple bonds.”

The re­port also pointed out the need to tackle the chal­lenges posted by short-term cost of some ma­jor projects to reap the long-term ben­e­fits of bet­ter in­fra­struc­ture.

It sug­gested bet­ter project plan­ning, tack­ling of fi­nanc­ing hur­dles, ad­e­quate le­gal frame­works to fa­cil­i­tate in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment, as well as the need for bet­ter lo­cal cul­tural aware­ness.

Pro­posed by China in 2013, the ini­tia­tive aims to build a trade and in­fra­struc­ture net­work connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the an­cient trade routes of the Silk Road. It com­prises the Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt and the 21st Cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road.

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