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The Belt and Road Imitative Promotes the Common Development of Developing Countries

Submit Time:13-06-2018 | Zoom In | Zoom Out

Author:Hu Biliang | Source:Guangming Daily (May 16, 2018)


President Xi Jinping proposed the Belt and Road Initiative five years ago and presided over the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation a year ago, vigorously promoting the in-depth integration of China and the world, and particularly strengthening the comprehensive and in-depth cooperation between China and developing countries. By making full use of the "Belt and Road" international cooperation platform, developing countries can better get on board the fast train of China's development to achieve faster and better overall development. 

The Belt and Road Initiative initiates the development process of developing countries through infrastructure construction. The basic experience of China's reform and opening up shows that if developing countries want to achieve economic and social development, they must first put in place infrastructure including roads, railways, bridges, ports, docks, airports and other transportation infrastructure; otherwise, the transportation costs are high, and production and the market cannot be well connected, making the reproduction process difficult to complete successfully. In addition to transportation infrastructure, power infrastructure and Internet infrastructure are of direct significance to the socio-economic development of any society. The core of the Belt and Road Initiative is to establish better infrastructure connectivity networks between China and the world, especially between China and neighboring developing countries. So far, most of the key projects implemented by the Belt and Road Initiative are related to infrastructure construction. For example, the well-known Jakarta-Bandung High-speed Rail, Mombasa–Nairobi Railway, China Railway Express to Europe, Tel Aviv Light Rail, Koh Thom Bridge, Sahiwal Coal-fired Power Station, Gwadar Port, Hambantota Port, Colombo Port, and Kyaukpyu Port are all typical infrastructure construction projects. After completion, these infrastructure construction projects will accelerate the development of related countries. 

The Belt and Road Initiative promotes common development through trade facilitation. In addition to hard infrastructure, the smooth progress of the Belt and Road Initiative cannot be separated from the establishment of soft infrastructure. With certain traffic infrastructure conditions such as roads, railways, ports, and bridges, the transportation of goods will be smoother and transportation costs will be lower. This further requires that the related trade facilitation systems be adapted and strengthened. For example, the customs clearance system, the building of free trade zones, and trade rules should be gradually improved. Improvements in hardware and software will help countries better leverage their comparative advantages through trade and achieve complementary development and win-win benefits. 

The Belt and Road Initiative promotes industrial development through the building of parks. Industrialization is an important way for developing countries to achieve economic development and modernization. Based on its own experience, China has built many different types of parks in countries along the Belt and Road, and used foreign capital to incubate and cultivate new industries as soon as possible to expand the international market quickly, which is of great strategic importance to the industrialization of the country. 

The Belt and Road financial system innovation helps increase the supply of funds. The Belt and Road Initiative mainly involves a large number of infrastructure construction projects. The general capital needs are large and there is a need for "big advancement" in investment. At present, shortage of funds is the common problem in developing countries. Therefore, the Silk Road Fund, cooperative funds for production capacities, and project debts that are required to meet the needs of the Belt and Road Initiative have provided new sources of financing, giving strong impetus to the development of developing countries. 

More importantly, the co-building of the Belt and Road is also conducive to improving macro-international environments that restrict the development of developing countries. Without improvements in macro-environmental environments, the growth and development of developing countries would be very difficult. From this point of view, the value and significance of the Belt and Road Initiative are all the more important. 

First, by jointly building the Belt and Road, we will continue to advance the process of economic globalization and work hard to promote the transformation and upgrading of economic globalization, thus creating the prerequisites for the future development of developing countries. Globalization brings capital, technology, and talents to every corner of the world, including developing countries. This creates a prerequisite for developing countries to achieve leapfrog development. The development of China during its 40 years of reform and opening up has already proved this well. However, there are also many problems in the current globalization, such as increasing social inequality, industry hollowing-out in some countries, and bubbles in certain industries. Therefore, we need not only to push forward the process of economic globalization, but also to promote its transformation, upgrading and development, and strive to boost open, inclusive, balanced, and win-win economic globalization, so as to avoid the occurrence of more negative impacts while giving full play to its advantages. 

Second, by jointly building the Belt and Road, we will continue to improve and perfect the global governance system and increase the participation of developing countries, so that the majority of developing countries will benefit from the new global governance system. The current global governance system has played an important and positive role in the post-World War II global development, but the problem is that developing countries are involved less in this process and gain limited benefits from it. Therefore, we need to improve and perfect the existing global governance system so that more developing countries have the opportunity to participate in the global governance system and play an active role in it, thereby gradually fostering a new global governance model for countries to jointly govern the world. Developing countries not only take an active part in the process, but also play an important role in it. They are not only the executors of the rules but also the makers of the rules. 

Third, by jointly building the Belt and Road, we will build a new model of international cooperation and promote common development around the world. The new model for international cooperation should be open, inclusive, equal, and mutually beneficial. It should attach more importance to integration of North-South cooperation and South-South cooperation, with a view to promoting the smoother flow of various factors and resources on a global scale, and allowing all countries and regions to achieve mutually beneficial development and win-win progress while giving full play to their own resource endowments, thus ultimately contributing to building a community with a shared future for mankind. 

(Author: Hu Biliang, Director of the Belt and Road Institute of Beijing Normal University)

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