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Seizing "Belt and Road" Opportunities for Win-Win Cooperation

Submit Time:11-10-2017 | Zoom In | Zoom Out

Author:Zhang Yansheng, Wang Haifeng, Yang Kunfeng | Source:People's Daily (September 19, 2017)

Abstract:

Since introduction, the Belt and Road Initiative has advanced orderly and enjoyed wide support of the international community, as evidenced by active participation of many countries, injecting a new and strong impetus to world economic development. 

Bringing great opportunities for development to all countries 

The promotion of the "Belt and Road" construction not only helps maintain the period of strategic opportunities for China's peaceful development, but also brings great opportunities for development to relevant countries, thereby promoting world economic rebalancing and fairer distribution of benefits. 

The Belt and Road Initiative embraces relevant countries' desires and dreams of development and peace. Every country is eager to develop rapidly, and every country wants peace and happiness. Looking back to the world history since modern times, however, this is not easy to achieve. Xi Jinping pointed out, "A review of human history tells us that what keeps people apart are not mountains, rivers or oceans, but a lack of mutual understanding." The concept of peaceful development and win-win cooperation is deeply rooted in the Chinese civilization. The Belt and Road Initiative proposed by Xi Jinping is the wisdom epitomizing the outstanding traditional culture of the Chinese nation. Focusing on policy coordination, facilities connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration, and people-to-people bonds, the Belt and Road Initiative embraces relevant countries' desires and dreams of development and peace as a bridge for promoting civilized dialogue, exchange and cooperation. 

The Belt and Road Initiative promotes the sound development of economic globalization. At present, world economy is still in the doldrums, and economic globalization has encountered twists and turns, accompanied by the rise of trade protectionism and chorus of deglobalization in some countries. In keeping with world multi-polarization, economic globalization, cultural diversification, and society informatization, the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by Xi Jinping upholds the spirit of open regional cooperation and is committed to maintaining the global free trade system and open world economy. The "Belt and Road" construction, which is based on Asia, Europe and Africa and positioned towards the world, is committed to building a high-grade network of free trade zones, in order to promote the vigorous development of cross-border e-commerce, the Internet of Things, and personnel flow. This will provide developing countries with equal opportunities and platforms for participation in regional economic cooperation and foster a more just and rational international economic order. 

Infrastructure connectivity benefits the world. "If you want to get rich, build a road." This is an important experience our country has summarized in the development practice and it implies a simple truth: a place can only develop economy and improve people's livelihood on the premise of infrastructure construction. This "road" includes highways, railways, airports, ports, and other transportation networks; oil and gas pipelines, power grids, and other energy transmission channels; and information communication networks. The countries involved in the "Belt and Road" construction are accelerating the connectivity of transport, energy and information infrastructures, which will not only benefit the participating countries directly, but also promote cooperation with other countries and regions, thereby enhancing the level of global economic well-being. 

International capacity cooperation shapes a new model of win-win cooperation. International capacity cooperation matches China's technology, capital and management with "Belt and Road" participating countries' market demand, labor, resources and other factors, and allows benefit sharing and risk sharing in terms of trade, investment, technology and standards through the construction of project clusters, industrial chains and economic zones. International capacity cooperation helps China work with relevant countries to build a community of common interests featuring complementary advantages, mutual benefit and win-win result, and work with third parties to form a new model of development characterized by assistance, equity investment and joint venture. It also fully mobilizes local governments, social organizations and industry associations for cooperative development, thus shaping a new model of development for win-win cooperation among multiple parties. 

Benefiting the people all over the world 

At present, more and more countries and international organizations actively participate in the "Belt and Road" construction, and a number of influential landmark projects are being implemented. It is foreseeable that the "Belt and Road" construction will be more promising and more beneficial to the people all over the world in the future. 

By 2017, the top-down design of the "Belt and Road" construction has been widely recognized. Xi Jinping pointed out that the Belt and Road Initiative originated in China, but it has delivered benefits well beyond its borders. Over the past four years, more than 100 countries and international organizations have responded positively to and supported the initiative, and more than 40 countries and international organizations have signed cooperation agreements with China. Chinese enterprises have invested more than 50 billion US dollars in participating countries, and a number of major projects are blossoming. Countries in the world are widely aware that the "Belt and Road" construction is conducive to promoting economic prosperity and regional cooperation, strengthening mutual exchange and appreciation of different civilizations, and boosting world peace and development, so it is a great cause benefiting the people all over the world. 

By 2020, the "Belt and Road" construction will achieve more substantial progress. In term of infrastructure connectivity, transport routes from China to Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Indian Ocean, to the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean, and to the Baltic will be basically smooth; in the western region, westward and southward land international corridors will be completed, and the Pan-Asia Railway Network will connect Central Asia, West Asia and the Persian Gulf in the near future. In terms of international capacity cooperation, the construction of project clusters, industrial chains and economic zones will make substantial progress. In terms of key projects, China will build a cooperative network together with Central Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, West Asia, and Central and Eastern Europe, and a number of landmark projects such as Yavan High-speed Rail, Sino-Laos Railway, Sino-Thai Railway, Hungary-Serbia Railway, Sino-Russian Oil and Gas Pipelines and Central Asia Oil and Gas Pipelines, Sino-Myanmar Kyaukpyu Port, Greece Piraeus Port, and China-Belarus Industrial Park will make significant progress. 

By 2030, the "Belt and Road" construction will open up a broader space for cooperation and development. "Belt and Road" participating countries will set up an efficient policy coordination and dialogue mechanism and establish closer partnerships and strategic synergy action programs with other countries and regions. With the signing of more economic and trade cooperation agreements and free trade agreements, the "Belt and Road" will become the most active region of global economic cooperation. "Belt and Road" participating countries will see common development of multiple kinds of trade. Moreover, green field investment, equity merger and acquisition, securities investment and other investment will be more active; international capacity cooperation will expand to medium- and high-end fields; international economic and technological cooperation mechanisms will continue to improve with increasing influence. All these will benefit the people all over the world on a larger scale and in broader fields. 

Pragmatic and innovative "Belt and Road" construction 

There is no international precedent for the "Belt and Road" construction, so it is necessary to explore innovation in the areas of system, culture, policy and finance. We should also respect the laws, cultural practices and cooperative intentions of relevant countries, and advance the "Belt and Road" construction practically and steadily. 

We should promote synergy of development strategies between China and relevant countries. Wide consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits are the basic principles of the "Belt and Road" construction. To promote synergy of development strategies, we should first designate relevant agencies and personnel to track and study the development situations, cooperative intentions and strategic synergy areas of participating countries. On this basis, we should establish dialogue, communication and coordination mechanisms for timely response to possible contradictions and challenges arising from cooperation. We should establish corresponding index systems to comprehensively evaluate the effectiveness of cooperation, and attach importance to relevant parties' views and feedback, in order to continuously improve the quality and efficiency of cooperation. We should also establish risk assessment and early warning mechanisms to guarantee the steady progress of the "Belt and Road" construction. 

We should deal with the relationship between the government and the market in an appropriate manner. As the "Belt and Road" construction is concerned, we must seriously follow the law of the market and common international rules, capitalize on the decisive role of the market in the allocation of resources and the main body role of enterprises, and give full play to the role of government in coordinating policy coordination, facilities connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration, and people-to-people bonds. In the "Belt and Road" construction, the government and the market complement each other and are indispensable. Given that many participating countries experience omission of both market and government functions, it is very important to correctly handle the relationship between the government and the market and build an efficient coordination mechanism. 

We should establish a multilateral international capacity cooperation mechanism. At present, many countries, especially developing countries, have great demands for infrastructure construction and industrialization, while many of our production capacities are inexpensive with good quality and strong comprehensive supporting capacities. Xi Jinping said, "Amid the continued downturn of world economy, if the enormous production capacities and construction capabilities that have been formed under pro-cyclicality go global, they can meet the urgent needs of countries along the "Belt and Road" country to advance industrialization and modernization and improve the level of infrastructure, which will help stabilize the current world economy situation." The establishment of a multilateral international capacity cooperation mechanism will not only help China expand the development space, but also help relevant countries accelerate development and expand employment. It is conductive to the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the promotion of the industrialization process of developing countries, so it is a great cause with both short-term and long-term benefits. 

We should actively mobilize the enthusiasm of all parties involved in the construction. In terms of the "Belt and Road" construction, we are committed to creating a mutually beneficial cooperation network, a new cooperation model, and a multi-platform cooperation, and building a green, healthy, intelligent and peaceful silk road, where all countries and regions can find their development points. Xi Jinping pointed out that China welcomes all parties to get on board the fast train of its development and welcomes all countries and international organizations to participate in cooperation. From an international perspective, we should encourage various countries and international organizations as well as small- and medium-sized enterprises, young people and people from remote areas to participate actively in, build and share the "Belt and Road." From a domestic perspective, we should coordinate the aligned development of eastern, central and western regions, strengthen the synergy of the Belt and Road Initiative with the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Integration Initiative, the Yangtze Economic Belt Initiative and other national strategies, and encourage domestic provinces and cities to establish more relationships of sister provinces and cities with relevant countries' provinces and cities. 

We should continue to enhance personnel communication, technical training and capacity building. As an important part of "people-to-people bonds," China has promised to provide participating countries with 10,000 government scholarships in order to expand the scale of foreign students. In the future, third-party international organizations may be invited to regularly evaluate the use efficiency of scholarships and make recommendations for improvement, so as to increase the benefits of government scholarships. We will also work with relevant countries and international organizations to promote technical training, vocational education and official exchange programs, in a bid to effectively meet different countries' needs for various types of talents. 

(Authors: Principal Researcher of China Center for International Economic Exchanges; Researcher of Institute of Foreign Economic Research of National Development and Reform Commission; doctoral student of Renmin University of China, respectively) 


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