SCIO briefing on development of Belt and Road Initiative

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Ning Jizhe, vice director of the Office of the Leading Group for the Belt and Road Initiative, deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, head of the National Bureau of Statistics

Qian Keming, vice minister of commerce

Zhang Jun, assistant minister of foreign affairs

Hu Kaihong, spokesperson for the State Council Information Office of China

August 27, 2018

Hu Kaihong: 

Now, let's welcome Mr. Qian Keming to give his briefing.

Qian Keming:

Friends from the media, since the Belt and Road Initiative was proposed five years ago, the Ministry of Commerce has firmly carried out the central authorities' decisions and deployment, advanced relevant economic and trade cooperation, and achieved remarkable effects, which are mainly embodied in the following five aspects:

First, the trade volume has increased continuously. We actively promote mutual market opening-up, enhance trade facilitation, optimize trade structure and cultivate new growth points in foreign trade. We make full use of the comprehensive exhibitions' roles as platforms, and actively organized trade promotional activities. In the past five years, China's trade volume with the countries and regions along the Belt and Road exceeded US$5 trillion, up an average 1.1 percent annually. We obtained positive growth of 1.1 percent, while world trade declined and witnessed negative growth. China has become the largest trade partner to 25 countries along the Belt and Road. 

Second, investment cooperation has also deepened. We unceasingly strengthen service guarantees, and encourage Chinese enterprises to invest and develop their businesses in countries along the Belt and Road. In the past five years, China's direct investment in these countries has surpassed US$70 billion, which has increased at an average annual speed of 7.2 percent; the foreign contract amount exceeded US$500 billion, up 19.2 percent annually on average. Meanwhile, we have constantly broadened entry fields for foreign investments, aiming to build a high standard business environment and attract these countries to invest in China.

Third, big projects have taken root. We, together with relevant parties, have prompted the materialization of a batch of big projects in infrastructure construction and industrial capacity cooperation. For instance, the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway and Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway have been completed; the China-Thailand Railway and Hungary-Serbia Railway constructions kicked off; the second phase of the construction of the Hambantota Port was finished; the Gwadar Port in Pakistan re-opened; and the transportation projects of the China-Laos Railway and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor are progressing steadily.

Fourth, the construction of economic and trade zone is steadily advancing. We actively promote the construction of economic and trade cooperation zones with countries along the Belt and Road routes. In the past five years, Chinese enterprises have built 82 such zones, with a total investment of US$28.9 billion, attracting 3,995 enterprises, which have paid US$2.01 billion in taxes to the host countries and created 244,000 jobs for local talent. 

Fifth, the free trade network is continuously expanding. We have accelerated the construction of free trade areas with countries along the Belt and Road, and signed five free trade agreements with 13 countries along the routes. A high-standard free trade network based on neighboring regions, covering the Belt and Road and facing the whole world is in progress. China has signed economic and trade cooperation agreements with the Eurasian Economic Union, and concluded the joint feasibility study of the Eurasian Economic Partnership agreement with Russia. 

It's important to note that China is actively preparing for the China International Import Expo in November, and so far, 138 countries and regions, three international organizations and more than 2,800 enterprises have confirmed their participation in the event.

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