SCIO press conference on white paper 'The Belt and Road Initiative: A Key Pillar of the Global Community of Shared Future'

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, October 16, 2023
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National Business Daily:

Economic and trade cooperation is a crucial part of the BRI cooperation. Over the past decade, what achievements have been made in economic and trade cooperation under the BRI framework? What will be done to further advance the cooperation in the future? Thank you. 

Guo Tingting:

Over the past 10 years, the Ministry of Commerce has fully implemented the guiding principles of President Xi Jinping's speeches on the BRI cooperation and worked with relevant parties to deepen practical cooperation in the fields of economics and trade with BRI partner countries, jointly promoting mutual benefits for all countries and effectively advancing open cooperation at the global level. The achievements are mainly demonstrated in the following three aspects. 

First, both the quantity and the quality of trade cooperation have been improved. Just as the white paper points out, from 2013 to 2022, China's trade in goods with BRI partner countries has reached $19.1 trillion, with an annual growth rate of 6.4%, which is higher both than the overall growth rate of China's foreign trade and that of the global foreign trade over the same period. China is the main trading partner of over 110 BRI partner countries and has signed 14 free trade agreements with 20 BRI partner countries, with trade liberalization and facilitation continuing to be advanced.

Second, fruitful outcomes have been made in two-way investment. From 2013 to 2022, the two-way investment between China and BRI partner countries has totaled over $380 billion. Direct Chinese investment in BRI partner countries has topped $240 billion, covering diverse areas concerning social and economic development. China has also worked with BRI partner countries to build a series of economic and trade cooperation zones. As of the end of 2022, the total accumulated investment had exceeded $60 billion. At the same time, BRI partner countries also actively made investments in China and shared China's development opportunities. Over the past decade, the cumulative investment in China has exceeded $140 billion, and about 67,000 new enterprises have been set up in China. 

Third, construction projects have witnessed steady progress. From 2013 to 2022, the average annual turnover of China's contracted projects in BRI partner countries reached around $130 billion. We have witnessed the construction of a host of landmark projects, including the China-Laos Railway, the Jakarta-Bandung High-speed Railway, and the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway, effectively improving the infrastructure conditions of their host countries and significantly reinforcing connectivity. Moreover, we have launched a series of small and beautiful projects, including the cooperation project involving Juncao, a Chinese-invented technology using grass to grow mushrooms, to benefit people's lives. We have also stepped up efforts to promote cooperation in green and digital development. In the first eight months of this year, the value of newly signed project contracts with BRI partner countries related to energy conservation and environmental protection increased 22% year on year. 

In addition, we have made continuous efforts to set up trade and investment platforms to promote BRI cooperation. We successfully held the China International Import Expo, the China Import and Export Fair (Canton Fair), the China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS), the China International Fair for Investment and Trade (CIFIT), and the China International Consumer Products Expo (CICPE), as well as a host of regional exhibitions. All of these have provided a strong boost to economic and trade cooperation among BRI partner countries.

Going forward, we will strictly implement the decisions and deployments made by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council and ramp up our efforts to deepen and substantiate Belt and Road economic and trade cooperation in the following four aspects.

First, we will make efforts to form a new structure of opening up. We will expand and facilitate the import and export of quality goods, ensure the success of major exhibitions, and deepen trade cooperation with BRI partner countries. We will take multiple measures to foster the Invest in China brand and make greater efforts to attract foreign investment. We will continue to improve the structure of outbound investment and improve the quality and efficiency of investment cooperation with BRI partner countries. We will build pilot free trade zones and free trade ports of higher standards and align domestic rules with international economic and trade rules by high standards.

Second, we will raise industrial and supply chain cooperation to a new level. We will further improve the efficiency of China-Europe freight trains and accelerate the construction of the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor. We will work with BRI partner countries to set up more working mechanisms to facilitate and ensure unimpeded trade, investment cooperation, and trade in services, make more effort to promote policy communication and strategy synergy and ensure stable and unimpeded industrial and supply chains for the Belt and Road cooperation.

Third, we will foster new drivers of economic growth. We will advance key projects as well as small and beautiful projects in a coordinated manner to help reinforce the development basis for BRI partner countries and improve their people's well-being. We will promote investment, construction, and operations in a comprehensive manner and build a host of high-quality engineering projects. Moreover, we will establish a pilot zone for Silk Road e-commerce cooperation and host the Global Digital Trade Expo successfully, sharing various development dividends with other countries.

Fourth, we will explore new spaces for economic and trade development. We will actively endeavor to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA), as well as ensure the high-quality implementation of the RCEP. We will speed up the alignment of rules, regulations, and standards. We will also support enterprises from Hong Kong and Macao to participate in BRI cooperation and build an important functional platform for the BRI. We will promote cooperation in green development and the digital economy with BRI partner countries and achieve sustainable development together.

Thank you. 

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