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Promoting high-quality Development of the Belt and Road by Following the Philosophy of Open, Green and Clean Cooperation --- Research on the China International Import Expo and New Opening-up Strategy

November 12, 2019

Wang Jian

Institute of International Relations, SASS

 

At the opening ceremony of the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, President Xi Jinping pointed out in his speech that China would follow the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution, and shared benefits, the philosophy of open, green, and clean cooperation, and a high-standard, people-centered, and sustainable approach to promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation.

The Belt and Road is a platform to put the new mode of international cooperation and concept of building a community with a shared future for mankind into practice. The goal of the Belt and Road Initiative is to achieve the greater tolerance of globalization by means of interconnection and interaction between civilizations, which will not only address the issues in the inclusive development, but also inject new impetus for the development of the globalization. As a matter of fact, interconnection remains a weakness in global and regional cooperation. Regional integration in the past relied on such means as trade facilitation and tariff reduction and exemption to cut trade barriers. However, interconnection will also cut these barriers to some extent, facilitate trade cooperation, improve trading environment while serving as the new power to bolster regional integration. 

According to McKinsey & Company, the development of roads, bridges, ports, power plants, water supply systems and other infrastructures will need $57trn by 2030 to keep up the pace with the anticipated global growth rate. The figure is 60% higher than the investment in the past 18 years and even the valuation of current infrastructure.

Dr. Parag Khanna, a leading US strategy advisor, wrote in his book titled Super Territory: The Rise of Global Supply Chains. Mega-cities and New Commercial Civilization that the investment in the infrastructure in the next 40 years would surpass the total in the past 4,000 years! If the world economy may increase at an annual rate of 5% by tariff cut, a featured practice in the conventional globalization, the interconnection in the new globalization may help world economy grow by 10% to 15%. Therefore, the Belt and Road Initiative can provide strong impetus for globalization and boost the changes in the conventional globalization, enabling the development to be more open, balanced and inclusive.

McKinsey & Company also predicts that if the countries along the Belt and Road put both software and hardware of infrastructure in place, these countries will account for 80% of GDP growth by 2050 and bring about over 3 billion middle-class consumers to the whole world. Due to the multiplier effect brought by infrastructure construction, it is estimated that each $1bn investment in infrastructure may create 30,000 to 80,000 jobs and add $2.5bn of GDP.

Justin Yifu Lin, former World Bank Senior Vice President, viewed that each $1 added to the investment in infrastructure in the developing countries would increase $0.70 of import, of which $0.35 came from the developed world. Hence the investments in the global infrastructures will increase the export from the developed countries and make room for structural reform.

And in this sense, the Belt and Road Initiative, which was launched by China, will benefit the whole world. In the past experience, many countries and organizations shun away from the investments in infrastructure since it costs enormous amount but yields slowly and poses high risks. Since the inception of the Belt and Road Initiative, the US and EU put forward their proposals in tandem on strengthening infrastructure. These proposals, no matter they are responding to our initiative or intending to compete with China, are de facto contributions of the Belt and Road Initiative to the global development.

Jin Liqun, currently the President of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank(AIIB), indicated at the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2019 that any project operated by any country or investor in any part of the world, would live up to the essence of the Belt and Road Initiative since it would advance cooperation, peace and development. This is a very important principle for us to bear in mind.

We have scored remarkable achievements in promoting the development of the Belt and Road. China has concluded the Belt and Road cooperation agreements with 125 countries and 29 international organizations. Since the initiative was put forward six years ago, total trade between China and the countries along the Belt and Road has exceeded $6trn.The investment of the Chinese enterprises in the countries along the Belt and Road has surpassed $90bn+ and the turnover of the contract projects over $400bn.  The 82 overseas cooperation parks jointly established by China and the countries along the Belt and Road have created nearly 300,000 jobs locally and brought plenty of opportunities for development to these countries.  In addition, all 279 cooperation projects agreed at the first Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation have been by and large put in place. Confronted with the so-called issues hyped by some western countries with ulterior motives, such as debt traps, opaqueness, environment destruction and projects fueling corruption of local governments,

President Xi Jinping proposed the creative philosophy of open, green and clean cooperation at the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation and actively promoted high-quality development of the Belt and Road. Following the philosophy of open cooperation means that the building of the Belt and Road will be the updated version of China’s open-up. Not only will the Chinese enterprises go out and hit the overseas market to integrate the building of the Belt and Road with highly competitive production capacity and advanced technologies, more enterprises along the Belt and Road will be attracted to invest in China and bring in the cutting-edge technologies and concepts of the foreign enterprises as well. Following the philosophy of open cooperation also means that more countries and international organizations will be attracted to join the circle of the Belt and Road while the third-party partnership will also be introduced to achieve the high-quality and high-standard development. As the local markets in the countries along the Belt and Road will be made more open, more and more local enterprises and labor force will join in the development cause.

Following the philosophy of green cooperation means that green environmental and ecological protection will become an integrated part of high-quality development and key in the sustainable development of the Belt and Road. The other steps include the following: incorporating environmental and ecological protection in every part and whole process of the development of the Belt and Road; stepping up development of green Belt and Road to enhance the protection of ecosystem and thus do good to enhancing mutual understanding and support among governments, enterprises and people in the countries along the Belt and Road; taking part in the ecological improvement and environmental protection with the countries along the Belt and Road; strengthening support of green finance and encouraging the green projects along the Belt and Road to apply for the Chinese Green Development Fund pursuant to the related procedures.

Following the philosophy of clean cooperation means to take integrity as the moral and legal bottom lines for developing the Belt and Road and building a clean business environment in which it is hard to conduct corruption practice and easy to do business. The other steps include promoting the integrity in the enterprises and compliance management to ensure the sustainable development of enterprises and improvement of business environment in the countries and regions; continuing to facilitate global anti-corruption cooperation and practically enhance the development of global anti-corruption regime so as to provide a strong underpinning for building a path of integrity.

The China International Import Expo itself is an embodiment of promoting the high-quality development of the Belt and Road by following the philosophy of open cooperation. China’s initiative to expand import is the objective demand of our country to direct our economy to a path of high-quality development. Our focus will be importing core technologies that we are currently in the comparative weaker position of developing, critical equipment, quality consumer goods, oil and gas energy and strategic mineral resources that we face short supply and land-intensive agricultural products. On the other hand, global competition will be introduced through the CIIE to fuel the transformation and upgrading of China’s industrial structure. CIIE is also the manifestation of China’s genuine intention to open up our market and our resolve and confidence in furthering opening wider to the outside world and facilitating the global trade and cooperative development. It is especially noteworthy that the China International Import Expo is an open platform for all countries to strengthen cooperation and offer international public goods. The Expo fully represents the interests of the stakeholders of global trade and will make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all.