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BRI: A Mutually Beneficial Version of Economic Globalization

By Qiu Ping Source: Updated: 2024-03-20

Amid a rising backlash against globalization, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has been committed to realizing global connectivity and interconnected development. It seeks to open the arteries of economic globalization to push international cooperation to broader areas and higher levels, with a view to sharing out the gains of economic globalization. The intention is to mold more balanced, coordinated, and inclusive patterns of global development that will deliver mutually beneficial outcomes and promote shared prosperity.

The BRI has tightened the bonds of economic and trade cooperation. China is a major trading partner of more than 140 countries and regions and a major source of investment for a growing number of nations. Trade and investment have been expanding at a constant pace over the past decade, with China's trade in goods with participating countries totaling US$19.1 trillion, registering an average annual growth of 6.4% and outstripping the overall growth of not only Chinese foreign trade but global trade as a whole in the same period. Total bilateral investment has surpassed US$380 billion. Accounting for over US$240 billion of this figure, outbound Chinese foreign direct investment has flowed into a wide range of sectors for economic and social development. The cumulative turnover for contracted projects in participating countries has reached US$1.3 trillion. The level of trade and investment liberalization and facilitation has also risen steadily. More than 80 countries and international organizations have signed up to the Initiative on Promoting Unimpeded Trade Cooperation Along the Belt and Road, proposed by China. China has concluded 22 free trade agreements with 29 countries and regions, and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement has formally entered into force, creating the world's largest free trade zone in terms of population size and economic and commercial scale.

The BRI has promoted common development across the globe. By boosting infrastructure in participating countries, the BRI has brought improvements in connectivity, people's wellbeing, and development capacities. Over the past decade, a raft of landmark projects has been completed. These include the China-Laos Railway, the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway, the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway, the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway in Cambodia, and the Lahore Metro in Pakistan. Several complete foreign assistance projects have also been implemented, including the construction of the headquarters for the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At the same time, China has also channeled energies toward improving people's wellbeing, carrying out a number of small yet effective projects such as the sharing of Juncao technology for mushroom cultivation and hybrid rice technology, with training opportunities provided to 350,000 personnel of various professions. The rich array of cooperation projects under the BRI has helped usher in a new stage of balanced, coordinated, and inclusive global development.

Editor: Jiang Wenyan