China’s BRI in­vest­ment rises by 7 per­cent a year

Over­seas eco­nomic and trade co­op­er­a­tion zones play im­por­tant role in ini­tia­tive

China Daily European Weekly - - China News - By CHEN YINGQUN cheny­[email protected]­nadaily.com.cn

China has be­come the main in­vestor in many coun­tries in­volved in the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, and over­seas eco­nomic and trade co­op­er­a­tion zones are im­por­tant plat­forms for it, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent re­port.

The Re­port on China’s Trade and In­vest­ment Co­op­er­a­tion Un­der the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive (2014-17) was re­leased on Sept 21 in Beijing by the Chi­nese Academy of In­ter­na­tional Trade and Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion, part of the Min­istry of Com­merce.

It says that in the past five years, China’s di­rect in­vest­ment in coun­tries along the Belt and the Road has grown by about 7 per­cent an­nu­ally, reach­ing $16.71 bil­lion (14.3 bil­lion euros; £13 bil­lion) as of the end of 2017.

Even in 2017, when China’ di­rect in­vest­ment over­seas dropped gen­er­ally, its di­rect in­vest­ment in coun­tries in­volved in the BRI in­creased by 8.9 per­cent.

In 2013, in Kaza­khstan and In­done­sia, Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping pro­posed the Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt and the 21st Cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road — com­po­nents of the BRI. The ini­tia­tive serves as a solution for China to par­tic­i­pate in global open­ing-up and co­op­er­a­tion, im­prove global eco­nomic gov­er­nance, pro­mote com­mon de­vel­op­ment and pros­per­ity and build a com­mu­nity with a shared fu­ture for hu­man­ity, he said.

To com­pile the re­port, the writ­ers vis­ited many BRI coun­tries, in­clud­ing Cam­bo­dia, Laos, Viet­nam, Thai­land and Egypt, and also vis­ited eight Chi­nese re­gions and cities that are key par­tic­i­pants, in­clud­ing Chongqing and the Xin­jiang Uygur au­ton­o­mous re­gion.

The re­port says that at the end of last year, 56 per­cent of China’s over­seas di­rect in­vest­ment in coun­tries along the Belt and the Road was in South­east Asia. Sin­ga­pore, In­done- sia, Laos and Viet­nam were the main in­vest­ment des­ti­na­tions. About 20 per­cent went to Mon­go­lia, Rus­sia and Cen­tral Asia, where Rus­sia and Kaza­khstan re­ceived the most in­vest­ment. About 15 per­cent went to western Asia and North Africa, mainly the United Arab Emi­rates, Is­rael, Iran and Saudi Ara­bia.

About 70 per­cent of China’s in­vest­ment has been fo­cused on a few sec­tors: man­u­fac­tur­ing, leas­ing, com­mer­cial busi­ness, con­struc­tion, whole­sale and re­tail and farm­ing.

Gu Xuem­ing, pres­i­dent of the Chi­nese Academy of In­ter­na­tional Trade and Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion, says that over­seas eco­nomic and trade co­op­er­a­tion zones have be­come an im­por­tant plat­form for Chi­nese com­pa­nies as they have in­vested in the coun­tries in­volved in the BRI.

An in­creas­ing num­ber of com­pa­nies are op­er­at­ing in these zones, he says.

Ac­cord­ing to fig­ures from the min­istry, as of the end of 2017 Chi­nese com­pa­nies had built 75 eco­nomic and trade co­op­er­a­tion zones in 24 BRI coun­tries, ac­count­ing for about 75.8 per­cent of the to­tal num­ber of over­seas co­op­er­a­tion zones that Chi­nese com­pa­nies had built.

Chi­nese com­pa­nies have in­vested $25.45 bil­lion in these co­op­er­a­tion zones and at­tracted 3,879 com­pa­nies.

“Co­op­er­a­tion zones have made a great con­tri­bu­tion to coun­tries along the Belt and the Road,” Gu says. “For ex­am­ple, a co­op­er­a­tion zone be­tween China and Egypt has helped Egypt’s fiber­glass man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try de­velop from noth­ing to the third-largest in the world.”

In an­other co­op­er­a­tion zone in In­done­sia, fa­cil­i­ties that would ben­e­fit lo­cal peo­ple were de­signed from the start, in­clud­ing ed­u­ca­tional fa­cil­i­ties, shop­ping malls and hos­pi­tals, he added.

Wang Shouwen, vice-min­is­ter of the Min­istry of Com­merce and deputy China In­ter­na­tional Trade Rep­re­sen­ta­tive, says that China’s over­seas eco­nomic and trade co­op­er­a­tion zones have also paid $1.68 bil­lion in tax to des­ti­na­tion coun­tries, and pro­vided 219,000 jobs for these coun­tries.

In the fu­ture, China will strengthen con­nec­tiv­ity with coun­tries in­volved in the BRI, and strengthen the con­struc­tion and op­er­a­tion of over­seas eco­nomic and trade co­op­er­a­tion zones, to push for­ward the de­vel­op­ment of both des­ti­na­tion coun­tries and China, Wang says.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Gu Xuem­ing, pres­i­dent of the Chi­nese Academy of In­ter­na­tional Trade and Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion, gives a speech at the China Fo­rum on Open­ing and De­vel­op­ment in Beijing on Sept 21.

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