The Belt and Road Progress Report

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Liu Wei, President, Renmin University of China.[Photo/]

Liu Wei, President, Renmin University of China. [Photo/] 

Name: Liu Wei, President, Renmin University of China

Title: Release of Adhering to the Planning, Orderly and Pragmatically Build the "Belt and Road": The Belt and Road Progress Report

Full Text:

Esteemed Minister Liu Qibao, Distinguished guests, Ladies, gentlemen and dear friends,

Good morning! It is my great pleasure to participate in the International Seminar on The Belt and Road Initiative today. More than two millennia ago, an ancient Silk Road connecting China with the world impacted ups and downs in various civilizations and countries across Eurasia. Today in the 21st century, the Belt and Road Initiative, or BRI, proposed by China has attracted attention across the world. In the past three years of BRI mobilization, China has accomplished initial planning of the BRI based on a grand blueprint. Today we are heading toward a brand-new stage where more detailed and comprehensive work will be launched.

As one of China's major policy study organizations, Renmin University of China has been emphasizing studies on the Belt and Road Initiative. The university has traditional advantage in various subjects such as humanities and social science. Along with innovation in related institutions and mechanisms, Renmin University of China has made great efforts in building new-type think tanks with Chinese characteristics, aiming to produce influential research findings and policy proposals on the BRI.

In the past three years, scholars from Renmin University of China have visited and conducted research in more than 30 countries and regions along the Belt and Road. We have held the Silk Road Economic Belt Cities International Forum, built the Belt and Road database, and set up BRI research teams. We have also established the Belt and Road Economic Research Institute, and arranged a series of visits by ambassadors from Belt and Road countries. All these helped contribute the university's wisdom and strength in telling China stories and boosting BRI-related communication with the world.

According to I Ching, a Chinese classic, three years of arduous efforts can yield huge rewards. With three years endeavors, we are able to make considerable contribution to the nation, and now it is the season of harvest. The Belt and Road Progress Research Team at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China (RDCY) now releases their review report, which is titled Adhering to the Planning, Orderly and Pragmatically Build the "Belt and Road": The Belt and Road Progress Report.

I would like to briefly introduce their major findings.

First, broad consensus has been achieved through policy coordination. Since the BRI was raised in 2013, China and countries along the Belt and Road have established policy coordination at various levels, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Eurasian Land Bridge negotiation mechanism, and the Euro-Asia Economic Forum.

Second, a solid foundation has been laid for facilities connectivity. Infrastructure plays a pioneering role in Belt and Road construction. Geographical obstacles are being eliminated along with the building of the China-Laos railway and the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway. And interconnectivity is being realized due to construction of highways, high-speed trains, ports and ships, as well as cross-border optical cable networks.

Third, prominent achievements have been made in promoting unimpeded trade, which is the golden key to open mutual markets. In the past three years, China and countries along the Belt and Road have made joint efforts in improving investment and trade facilitation, pushing forward negotiations on bilateral investment protection agreements and double taxation avoidance agreements, as well as eliminating investment and trade barriers gradually. All these aim to create a sound business environment within the region and in all related countries.

Fourth, cooperation networks for financial integration are being shaped. Financial support mechanisms have started to play their role, invigorating Belt and Road financial cooperation. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank opened for business in early 2016, and the Silk Road Fund's first batch of investment projects have officially kicked off. The rapid development of financial cooperation and steady progress in RMB internationalization are providing solid support for key projects of the Initiative.

Fifth, steady progress has been made in people-to-people bond, which is key to state-to-state communication. Over the past three years, China has carried forward the spirit of friendly cooperation of the Silk Road, and has promoted extensive cultural and academic exchanges with countries and regions along the Belt and Road. Dialogue and exchange of civilizations have enriched the special Silk Road spirit, and have contributed to the chorus of various contemporary civilizations.

Ladies, gentlemen and dear friends,

The BRI is a long-term and systematic project. It is of upmost importance to win understanding and support from all sides, so as to build real consensus and conduct solid input. Over the past three years, while witnessing expected achievements, the BRI also faced various challenges and risks. The Belt and Road Progress Research Team at RDCY gives five suggestions for tacking these challenges.

First, China should tell BRI stories to boost cohesion among countries for the Belt and Road construction. China should let the world know solid achievements in Belt and Road construction. The nation needs to improve academic research on the BRI, strengthen theoretical support, and build a related discourse system. China should give full interpretation of the BRI's connotation and denotation, and build a community of shared interests, destiny and responsibility featuring mutual political trust, economic integration and cultural inclusiveness with countries along the Belt and Road.

Second, China needs to build an overall planning and coordination mechanism for efficient and integrated progress. The BRI should better connect with other national strategies including the Yangtze River economic belt and the collaborative development of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region. In this way China can promote all-around opening-up and coordinated development of eastern, central and western regions of the nation.

Third, China should adhere to the principle of long-term consistent progress and encourage innovative mechanisms and platforms. Through consolidating infrastructure connectivity, cooperation on capacity building, as well as economic and trade cooperation zones, China should well implement pilot projects and try to yield more achievements at primary stage, so as to enhance the sense of gain among people across the world.

Fourth, China needs to utilize global Chinese network to tap into international talent reserves. Overseas Chinese are familiar with foreign culture, have a good command of language, and have formed a network of communication with easy access to technology, capital and information resources. China needs to make full use of existing global Chinese networks such as World Chinese Entrepreneurs Convention and World Federation of Overseas Chinese Associations. A productive network of global Chinese talent can be developed for the progress of the Belt and Road.

Fifth, China should improve its business support system to provide all-around and effective assistance. A more comprehensive business service support system is in need to support Chinese enterprises going global. At this stage Chinese enterprises rely heavily on foreign services, including investment banking, business trust, business administration, legal affairs, auditing, consulting and investigation. This enhances their risks of going global. A stronger domestic business support system should be in place for companies going abroad for Belt and Road construction.

Ladies, gentlemen and dear Friends,

The BRI is China's grand plan to further boost its opening-up, to build a new pattern of open development, and to practice the nation's ideas of mutual benefit and win-win cooperation. Higher education institutions should take their responsibility of providing more valuable research findings, and serve as reliable think tanks to ensure the implementation of this national program.

Renmin University of China will continue to push forward its reform and innovation of institutions and mechanisms, make efforts to build new-type think tanks with Chinese characteristics, and establish expert teams in these think tanks. We will give full play to their professional research capabilities and their influence on the government and the public. It is in this way that we will promote policy coordination and people-to-people bonds with countries along the Belt and Road: We will help build solid foundation of public opinions for jointly building the Belt and Road; we will establish communication platforms for people from political, business and academic fields; and we will help promote policy dialogues and negotiations among countries along the Belt and Road so as to enhance consensus and mutual trust.

Thank you.

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