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Belt-Road Initiative to boost China’s regional trade

By APP
December 15, 2017

BEIJING: China’s trade with economies participating in the Belt and Road Initiative is likely to deliver double-digit growth in the next five to 10 years, if institutional hurdles are gradually removed, said a leading international trade expert.

“The estimated growth would be five to six percentage points higher than China’s trade volume with other countries and regions,” Wei Jianguo, former vice-minister of commerce said. “That would be accompanied by a shift from traditional sectors such as textiles, machinery manufacturing, agriculture and infrastructure to industries like information technology, aerospace, high-speed rail and tourism.”

Jianguo, who is vice-president of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, a major government think tank said mutual investment would also enjoy double-digit growth. In the first three quarters of this year, trade between China and economies involved in the initiative amounted to $785.9 billion, up 15 percent year-on-year, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

So far, Chinese enterprises promoted the construction of 75 overseas economic and trade cooperation zones in 24 countries and regions, and created more than 209,000 jobs for the local people, the ministry said.

Currently, institutional hurdles present the largest barriers to trade between China and economies participating in the initiative. “To overcome the barrier, more bilateral or multilateral agreements, such as bilateral investment treaties and free trade agreements, should be signed as soon as possible between China and economies involved in the initiative,” Jianguo told China Daily.

Yeroen van der Leer, senior manager of accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers Netherlands, wrote in a report there are still many challenges for China and the other economies involved, such as rough terrain, persistent regional conflicts, and corruption in some countries.

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