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

Phoenix Satellite TV:

Could you please introduce the progress being made in the construction of overseas economic and trade cooperation zones, and what kind of expectation do you have for the next stage in their development? Thank you. 

Song Lihong:

The overseas economic and trade cooperation zones, as I said at the beginning of the briefing, are an important platform for Chinese enterprises to invest abroad. They are also an "effective carrier" for China to conduct industrial cooperation with countries along the Belt and Road. Since the BRI was first proposed, overseas economic and trade cooperation zones have witnessed fast development. However, it should be noted that these zones were already being established before the BRI was proposed, so they are actually not an emerging phenomenon. However, they have kept expanding ever since the BRI was proposed. You can tell that they have become a major focus of BRI construction and a glorious part of a beautiful landscape. Such examples can be found in many countries, and I believe most of you present may have already witnessed their development, so I will not go into details here. According to the statistics of the Ministry of Commerce, the accumulated Chinese investment in overseas economic and trade zones has reached nearly US$40 billion, while contributing over US$3 billion in taxes and fees to the host countries, and creating more than 300,000 jobs. Over 70% of those economic and trade cooperation zones have been jointly established with countries along the Belt and Road. 

Next, we will enhance the integration of plans, industries and mechanisms with our partner countries through jointly building the Belt and Road Initiative. We strongly advocate openness and cooperation, adhere to the concept of green and sustainable development as well as promote practical cooperation in the construction of cooperation zones. We want to make cooperation zones the effective medium of industrial cooperation between China and the host countries and pilot zones for promoting industrialization by host countries. We should strive to cultivate some cooperation zones with geographical advantages, distinct industrial positioning, advanced management and outstanding construction achievements. We want to let cooperation zones become important international cooperation platforms based on mutual benefit and creating a win for all.  

There will be 12 sub-forums in the upcoming Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. I hope to draw attention to the Overseas Economic and Trade Cooperation Sub-Forum which is sponsored by China's Ministry of Commerce. The preparatory work is now coming to an end. We will invite relevant countries, intermediaries and enterprises to discuss how to develop high-quality overseas economic and trade cooperation zones at the sub-forum. Thank you.

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