By Mr. Zhang Hao, Acting Consul General of China in Karachi
Since President Xi Jinping put forward the Belt and Road Initiative(BRI) in 2013, China has worked steadily to promote economic and trade cooperation along the Belt and Road and made noticeable progress over last decade. Trade and investment between China and participating countries have steadily expanded, infrastructure connectivity has been strengthened, and cooperation in industrial chains and supply chains has been constantly enhanced.
In terms of trade, from 2013 to 2022, China’s trade in goods with countries along the Belt and Road doubled from $1.04 trillion to $2.07 trillion, with an average annual growth rate of 8%.
In terms of investment, from 2013 to 2022, China’s two-way investment with countries along the Belt and Road exceeded $270 billion. As of the end of 2022, Chinese enterprises had invested a total of $57.13 billion in overseas economic and trade cooperation zones in countries along the Belt and Road, creating 421,000 jobs for local people.
In terms of project construction, from 2013 to 2022, the total value of newly-signed contracts and the total turnover of completed projects in countries along the Belt and Road exceeded $1.2 trillion and $800 billion, respectively, accounting for more than half of the total value of overseas projects contracted.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the BRI. China will hold the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation and continue to deepen and consolidate economic and trade cooperation along the Belt and Road. We will lay more focus on the following five aspects.
First, China will concentrate on improving quality. China will optimize the trade structure and expand imports of quality goods while continuing to expand trade with participating countries. China will get more deeply involved in the global industrial division of labor and cooperation and improve the two-way investment structure. China will also promote the negotiation and signing of free trade agreements with more participating countries and speed up the building of a free trade zone network covering the Belt and Road countries. China will make good use of trade corridors, promote cooperation in building the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, and improve the quality and efficiency of the China-Europe Railway Express service.
Second, China will expand areas of cooperation. China will meet the development needs of participating countries and seek the conclusion of bilateral cooperation agreements on green development, the digital economy, and the blue economy. China will promote all-around cooperation in green infrastructure, green energy, green industries, and green trade and further bolster the green development of the BRI. China will actively foster new forms and models of digital cooperation, promote the development of “Silk Road e-commerce,” and create pilot zones for “Silk Road e-commerce” cooperation.
Third, China will launch more quality projects. China will promote the construction of high-quality infrastructure projects with participating countries and expand tripartite and multi-party market cooperation. China will focus on the areas of poverty reduction, health, education, and others, and introduce more “small but beautiful” projects to enhance local people’s sense of gain and recognition. China will promote the upgrading of overseas economic and trade cooperation zones and jointly build demonstration zones for economic and trade innovative development with ASEAN countries.
Fourth, China will build more platforms. China will give full play to the role of multilateral and bilateral economic and trade mechanisms and platforms and promote the establishment of more working groups on unimpeded trade and investment cooperation. China aim to successfully deliver various kinds of exhibitions, such as the China and Central and Eastern European Countries Expo, the China-Arab States Expo, and the China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo. We will earnestly implement the outcomes of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summits, the China-Arab States Summit, and the China-Gulf Cooperation Council Summit and promote the implementation of the nine programs for China-Africa cooperation.
Fifth, China will strengthen guarantees. China plans to provide high-quality public service products and continuously issue guidelines for overseas investment and cooperation by country and region. China will also promote the signing and upgrading of investment protection agreements with participating countries to provide more guarantees for the high-quality development of the BRI.
As a landmark project of the BRI, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor(CPEC) has brought a total of $25.4 billion in direct investment, $17.55 billion in revenue, $2.12 billion in taxes, and created 192,000 jobs for Pakistan, helping Pakistan to add 6000 megawatts of electricity, 510km of highway and 886km of the national core transmission network, laying a solid foundation for Pakistan’s economic and social development. China welcomes all countries in the world, including Pakistan, to participate in the high-quality development of BRI, which will inject new momentum to enhance the well-being of people’s livelihoods and global economic development.