Belt and Road’s success depends on its inclusiveness

By , on May 2, 2017

BEIJING–The Belt & Road Initiative of Chinese President Xi Jinping has been gaining success and support as well from major countries due to its inclusiveness, an analyst said.

“Why Belt and Road is so successful? It’s because of its inclusiveness,” Prof. Wang Yewei, Director of the Center for European Studies at Renmin University of China, said in his recent lecture attended by foreign journalists from Asia and Africa.

Initiated by Chinese President Xi in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative was designed to build a Silk Road Economic Belt and a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road connecting Asia with Europe and Africa.

Belt and Road Initiative connects countries through trade, infrastructure, policy communication, finance, and cultural and people-to-people exchanges along ancient Silk Road trade route.

At least 28 state and government leaders, including Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, have confirmed their attendance in the 2017 Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation set on May 14-15 in Beijing.

President Duterte visited Beijing upon invitation of President Xi in October last year, bringing home USD 24 billion worth of investment pledges and infrastructure projects.

According to the Belt and Road Initiative’s data, China’s total value of trade with countries along the Belt and Road routes had reached around USD 953.59 million in 2016.

Britcham in China chair Clare Pearson said the countries and areas along the route will benefit from the Belt and Road Initiative.

“How do we check if the people like it, number one consult before going, not just with government, with ordinary people. Hardware success are number one, then software or soft power could come as number two,” Pearson said in recent interview with China Global Television Network.

Pearson said Belt and Road Initiative is beneficial for both China and countries along the Silk Road, bringing more convenience to the lives of the people in terms of infrastructures and other facilities.

“The Belt and Road Initiative benefits countries and areas along the route with no doubt,” she said.

She added that the success of the Belt and Road Initiative can be measured not just the economic output and political gain “but actually the benefits to the grassroots people.”

Wang agreed with Pearson, saying that China has initiated the inclusive Belt and Road that will provide opportunities particularly for other developing countries.

“We said that we should build all, build by all and build for all. It’s not built by China,” Wang said also in CGTN interview.

He said success of Belt and Road must be measured by strategic and political gains and not only because of business returns.

“Among thousands of the Belt and Road projects, there are three major projects. The No. 1 is the strategic project, not only bilateral benefits, but also regional benefits. The second is policy-oriented with few economic returns in the short-term but huge potential of making money in the long run. The third is more commercial which is market-oriented,” Wang said.

According to CGTN news report, the Belt and Road Initiative could benefit nearly 4.5 billion people since most countries along the Belt and Road network are emerging markets and developing countries.

So far, more than 100 countries and international organizations have expressed their supports and willingness to participate in the Belt and Road with more than 30 countries signing cooperation agreements.

According to China’s Ministry of Commerce, the trade in goods between China and the Belt and Road countries grew by 26.2 percent in the first quarter of 2017.

The Ministry of Commerce data also showed that China’s non-financial outbound direct investment in 43 economies in the Belt and Road regions reached USD 2.95 billion.

China has reportedly invested more than USD 50 billion in countries along the Belt and Road routes since 2013.

A total of 56 economic and trade cooperation zones have been constructed by Chinese businesses in 20 Belt and Road countries.

Recently, President Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin have reportedly reached strategic consensus to integrate the Belt and Road Initiative and Russia’s Eurasian Economic Union.