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Belt and Road Initiative a boost to China, regional economy

Updated: Apr 27,2015 9:36 AM     Xinhua

BEIJING — The Belt and Road Initiative will not only help China’s own economy, but also those of the whole region through trade and investment.

The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, international trade and infrastructure projects proposed by China, will bring growth opportunities for all countries involved, said Zhang Yansheng, an economist with the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

The Belt is an overland network bringing together China, Central Asia, Russia and Europe; linking China with the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea, and connecting China with Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Indian Ocean.

The Road is a maritime network designed to link China’s coast to Europe through the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean in one route, and China’s coast to the South Pacific through the South China Sea in another.

Better transportation, electricity, energy and telecommunications means more investment opportunities, a foundation for growth and more jobs, Zhang said.

Improvements in infrastructure and financial services will also help trade in the region, Zhang added.

Export and import between China and countries along the Belt and Road reached seven trillion yuan (about $1.13 trillion) in 2014, 25 percent of China’s total foreign trade.

Zheng Yongnian, professor and director of the east Asian institute at the National University of Singapore, said the initiative would help China’s economic restructuring while stimulating development in countries along the routes.

The Belt and Road will be the world’s largest economic corridor covering a population of 4.4 billion and an economic output of $21 trillion.

The initiative will not only help growth for China, but offer new perspectives and opportunities for countries along the routes, Philipp Missfelder, a member of the German Bundestag, wrote in a commentary in Huffington Post earlier this week.

Q1 growth in China declined to 7 percent from the previous quarter’s 7.3 percent, the weakest since the first quarter of 2009. The current situation originates in drastic cuts to production capacity in traditional industrial sectors, which produce what many developing countries are eager for, Zhang said.

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