SCIO briefing on 'The Belt and Road Initiative: Progress, Contributions and Prospects'

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Xiao Weiming, director general of the Department of General Affairs at the Office of the Leading Group for Promoting the Belt and Road Initiative;

Song Lihong, director general of the Comprehensive Department at the Ministry of Commerce

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

April 22, 2019


I have a question on numbers. Could you tell us the total sum of investment and loans for the Belt and Road projects?

Xiao Weiming:

Thanks for your question. Over the years since the Belt and Road Initiative was proposed in 2013, we have invested a total of over US$90 billion in countries along the Belt and Road. The sources of loans for those Belt and Road projects are diverse, including commercial banks, policy banks and international monetary institutions. In doing so, we share both benefits and risks. Thank you.


It is now more than five years since the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was first raised, and different views towards the initiative have emerged. How does the BRI contribute to the world? I would like to know your point of view.

Xiao Weiming:

Thank you for the question. After fully grasping the guiding principles from General Secretary Xi Jinping's important addresses and instructions, and studying the documents on the decisions and plans of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, I would like to sum up the great significance of the BRI in the following aspects: 

For China itself, it is the master plan to promote opening-up and international economic cooperation.

For the world, it provides an important platform for promoting common development and prosperity, and building a community featuring a shared future for humanity. 

Domestically, the BRI has further promoted the reform and opening of our country, with the focus on the overall plan for promoting all-round economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological progress, as well as the Four-Pronged Comprehensive Strategy. It has become a distinct symbol of China's reform and opening in the new era. Driven by the BRI in recent years, we have increased the openness of the service sector; made the manufacturing sector basically open to all; widened access to the agriculture, energy and resources sectors; deepened reform of the investment and financing, fiscal and tax systems and the financial sector overall; reduced the negative lists for the access of foreign investment for both nationwide implementation and pilot free trade zones (FTZs); and, it has significantly improved the overall business environment. According to the 2019 World Bank Doing Business Report, China ranks 46th globally, 32 places higher than last year.

We have promoted the opening-up of areas along the coastline and the Yangtze River, as well as in border and inland regions, moving toward nationwide opening-up that connects the eastern and western regions, and attaching equal importance to the "bring in" and "go global" strategies. We have cooperated with some developed countries to jointly explore third-party markets, while constantly raising the quality and standard of opening-up. What I want to emphasize here is that, as they have fully engaged in the Belt and Road development, China's central and western regions, especially the latter, have moved from forming the background to the forefront of China's reform and opening up, and are filled with great vitality. 

The contributions to the international political and economic landscapes lie in the following two aspects: 

First, the BRI's firm support in building multilateralism and the multilateral trading system, as well as enhancing free trade and investment have provided a robust driving force for the recovery of global economy. China has contributed over 30% of global economic growth, which has made us the strongest driving force globally. In addition, the annual rate of contribution of China's final consumption expenditure to global consumption growth in recent years places China as the top contributor. Therefore, due to the BRI, Kazakhstan, the largest landlocked country in the world, is able to establish a corridor to the sea; Belarus is able to develop its own automotive industry; Maldives' dream to build bridges is coming true; Pakistan's electricity shortage is solved because of several new power plants; and Laos will change from being a landlocked country to one that is land-connected once the China-Laos railway opens. These examples show the contributions of the BRI to economic growth and improvement of the wellbeing of people living in the countries along its route.

Second, the BRI helps to improve global governance. Within the BRI, the principles of consultation, collaboration and benefit for all, as well as "the connectivity of policy, transportation, trade, currency and the heart of the people" show the initiative's endorsement of multilateralism, free trade, and a multilateral trade system. We firmly believe in dialogue and consultation, and work collaboratively to promote communication. This is in order to build a community with a shared future for mankind through political and mutual trust, economic globalization as well as people-to-people exchanges. The initiative has been widely recognized worldwide and as I've mentioned before, the BRI has been included into many documents of international organizations like the U.N., G20, APEC, and SCO. It is clear that the BRI fulfills the internal requirements of a global governance system reform, demonstrating the concept of a community with a shared future for mankind and providing Chinese wisdom toward the improvement of the global governance system. Thank you.

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