BEIJING (Xinhua) – Overseas investment is expected to be a key in pushing forward President Xi Jinping’s “belt and road” initiatives.
At the Second China Overseas Investment New Year Forum that closed Friday, global officials and entrepreneurs said enhancing cooperation between Chinese businesses and foreign counterparts can fuel the initiatives.
The project to revive the ancient Silk Road was put forward by President Xi Jinping during a visit to Kazakhstan in September in 2013, including a land-based belt from China via Central Asia and Russia to Europe, and a maritime route through the Strait of Malacca to India, the Middle East and East Africa.
Sha Zukang, secretary general of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, said the “belt and road” initiatives call for more trade cooperation, infrastructure construction and cultural exchange.
“Doubt and dispute emerged after the initiatives came out,” he said, “but time and achievement will prove that mutual understanding and hand-in-hand development are the core value of such great plan.”
China has plans for major projects to improve connectivity along the routes. During the Beijing Apec summit, Xi announced a $40 billion Silk Road fund, declaring that before there could be any resurrection of ancient trade routes, there must be an actual road. “Only when there is a road can people and things flow,” he said.
Apart from the Silk Road fund, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) advocated by China will also help supply the capital for infrastructure construction. With authorised capital of $100 billion, the AIIB should be up and running before the end of 2015.
Zhou Jian, a counsellor with China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at the forum’s opening ceremony that enterprises are pillars in promoting Xi’s “belt and road” initiatives.
He suggested pre-investment research on target countries, win-win combination of both sides’ advantages and responsible role of friendly foreign communication.
Men Ky Ching, chairman of the United World Chinese Association, wished all the Chinese investors be active but cautious while doing businesses in foreign countries, so as to realise win-win goals with lower risks.
China is currently in high-speed rail negotiations with 28 nations, most of which are along the routes, with total length of track over 5,000km on the agenda.
French Ambassador Maurice Gourdault-Montagne welcomed Chinese enterprises to invest in France, especially the sectors like culture and fashion.
“Over 500 million consumers, open market, high working efficiency and top-level science and technology pose a favourable environment for Chinese enterprises,” he added.
Muhammad Salim Khan, Pakistani envoy to China, said the “belt and road” would create an opportunity for the two countries to establish a win-win economic corridor.
He said the bilateral cooperation in fulfilling the initiatives will realise over 10,000km of distance reduction for every destination in the traditional trading route like from Urumqi to Dubai.
“Investment in regional transport infrastructure can provide benefits worth 37 billion US dollars by 2020 and another 66 billion US dollars after 2020,” he said at the forum.
Meanwhile, He Haifeng, director of Research Center of Financial Policy, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said lack of financial innovation and high saving ratio formed barriers for China to step further in the global trade.