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Belt and Road Cooperation: A Practical Measure for Creating a New Development Dynamic

By Qiu Ping Source: Updated: 2024-02-18

Belt and Road cooperation has tightened the links between China and the world. With physical connectivity as a foundation and institutional connectivity as a key support, the BRI has helped relieve choke points in the international economy, stimulate economic flows, and promote positive interplay between the Chinese and international economies. In this sense, it has provided important support for China’s drive to create a new development dynamic.

The BRI has vigorously promoted market connectivity

While providing larger markets and opportunities for realizing common development among various countries, the BRI has also created new space for China’s development. By the end of September 2023, the China Railway Express (CR Express) had served 217 cities in 25 European countries and had completed more than 78,000 trips, transporting over 50,000 types of goods, with a total value of more than US$340 billion. The CR Express has created numerous development opportunities for participating countries in areas such as industry, trade, investment, and employment. Since its official launch in 2018, the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor has also become an important fulcrum for cooperation between China and other participating countries, connecting to 465 ports in 120 countries and regions.

The BRI has helped advance industrial integration

Based on China’s complete industrial system, Belt and Road development has allowed participating countries, especially developing countries, to board the express train of China’s economic growth. It has expanded employment opportunities, boosted tax revenues, and enhanced countries’ capacity for independent development. China has established a series of economic and trade cooperation zones in collaboration with participating countries, with cumulative investment surpassing US$60 billion at the end of 2022. At the same time, participating countries have actively invested in China. Over the past decade, total investment has exceeded US$140 billion and resulted in the establishment of 67,000 new enterprises in China.

The BRI has helped drive innovation

In pursuing the BRI, participating countries are committed to innovation-driven development, to taking advantage of the opportunities presented by digital, internet, and intelligent advances, to exploring new forms of business, new technologies, and new models, and to seeking new growth drivers and development avenues to help all sides make economic progress. China has signed 47 memorandums of understanding with relevant countries on investment and cooperation in the green, digital, and blue development spaces. With the number of countries involved in Silk Road e-commerce cooperation rising to 30, this initiative has become a new platform for bilateral and multilateral economic and trade cooperation and a new highlight in Belt and Road development.

The BRI has promoted rules-based connectivity

It has not only allowed China to align with internationally recognized rules and standards but also enabled Chinese rules, technologies, and standards to go global. By the end of June 2023, China had signed 107 documents with national standardization bodies in 65 countries, including Pakistan, Italy, Russia, and Ethiopia, as well as with international and regional organizations, promoting cooperation on standards in many fields, such as civil aviation, climate change, and electric vehicles. For example, the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway, which was officially put into operation in October 2023, has become a major international calling card for Chinese railway standards.