“Belt and Road” is definitely a hot word at the CIFTIS. The Fifth China International Economic Cooperation “Go Global” Forum held in 2017, as a brand project of CIFTIS, has been attracting attention. The data released by the Ministry of Commerce on the 25th showed that the “Belt and Road” economic and trade cooperation has achieved remarkable results. Last year, the trade volume between China and the countries along the “Belt and Road” reached 7.4 trillion yuan, an increase of 17.8% on year-on-year basis. In 2017, the “Belt and Road” construction entered a new phase of comprehensive and pragmatic cooperation.
“This growth rate is 3.6 percentage points higher than the growth rate of national foreign trade,” according to Gao Feng, the spokesman of the Ministry of Commerce. The export volume of China to the countries along the Belt and Road reached 4.3 trillion yuan, up 12.1%, and the import volume stood at 3.1 trillion yuan, up 26.8%. In terms of investment, Chinese enterprises directly invested 14.4 billion U.S. dollars in the countries along the Belt and Road in 2017, and the contracted value of the newly contracted projects in the countries along the Belt and Road reached 144.3 billion U.S. dollars, up 14.5 percent year-on-year.
Since the “Belt and Road” Initiative was put forward, it has received quick response from all walks of life, and many major projects have been implemented and advanced smoothly. The initial segment of Mombasa-Nairobi Railway in Kenya of the East Africa Railroad Network was completed and open to traffic. The first tunnel of China-Laos Railway was completed, and the first phase of China-Thailand Railway started construction. The projects such as Hungary- Serbia Railway and Karachi Expressway went smoothly. China-Belarusian Industrial Park and Egypt’s Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone have all become examples of the “Belt and Road economic and trade cooperation.
New breakthroughs have been made in the construction of free trade area. Free trade agreements have been signed with Georgia and Maldives, the free trade agreement negotiations with Moldova and Mauritius started, and positive progress in the negotiation of the RCEP were made.
The “Belt and Road” brings tangible benefits to the countries along it. Last year, China launched the “Building a Bridge of Support and Aid, Getting Through the Belt and Road” activity to implement major aid initiatives and actively provide assistance all one can for the development of countries along the “Belt and Road”. China also steadily promoted the construction of aid projects that improve people’s livelihood, started the Institute of South-South Cooperation and Development and special training courses to help recipient countries to enhance their capacity for independent development.
The 19th NCCPC has made new plans for promoting the “Belt and Road” Initiative. The Ministry of Commerce will continue to adhere to the principle of jointly building and sharing and actively promote the international cooperation in the “Belt and Road” Initiative, strive for policy communication, infrastructure linkage, trade flow, financing arrangements and friendly exchanges between the people, build a new platform for international cooperation and increase new impetus for common development, work together with the countries along the “Belt and Road” to push forward the construction of an open economic world, and achieve win-win results and joint development. “This year we will continue to create a convenient, stable and predictable environment for enterprises to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative.”