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Belt, Road opens door to broader global reach

Zheng Xin
Updated: Feb 27,2018 8:47 AM     China Daily

With more than four years of development, the Belt and Road Initiative has provided a broader stage for Chinese enterprises and China’s Industrial parks to go global, researchers said.

The Belt and Road Initiative has proved to be driving regional connectivity and cooperation in the current global business setting, said Zeng Gang, director of the Institute of Urban and Regional Planning and Institute of Urban Development under the East China Normal University.

Zeng said China has integrated its resources, policies and market to connect with the world overseas under the initiative, while contributing billions in taxes and creating millions of jobs in host countries.

He made the remarks on Feb 26 during the release of the report on construction and development of China’s overseas industrial parks under the Belt and Road Initiative in Beijing.

Chinese enterprises contributed $14.36 billion of nonfinancial direct investment in the countries and regions participating the Belt and Road Initiative in 2017, figures from the Ministry of Commerce show.

Another 19 new overseas economic and trade cooperation zones were set up in countries and regions participating in the initiative last year, including 2,330 new enterprises, which generated $1.14 billion in taxes for host countries, the report said.

As a significant part of Belt and Road and the core area of the Suez Canal Corridor, the China-Egypt Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone in Egypt is among those with positive growth potential, the report said.

Located on the Suez Gulf, the economic and trade cooperation zone is an international industrial base that mainly covers industrial projects such as processing and manufacturing, logistics, protective tariff, technological development, commerce and trade and modern services as well as functional zones for residences, businesses and financial services. Responsible for the construction, development and operation of the cooperation zone, China’s TEDA Group, one of the oldest industrial developers in the region, has seen a steady increase in the number of its development projects and factories during the past decade.

Zeng said that Beijing, together with coastal provinces including Zhejiang, Guangdong and Jiangsu provinces, and China’s border provinces and autonomous regions including Yunnan, Heilongjiang and Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, are among those most active investing in overseas industrial parks.

On the other hand, countries that neighbor China hold most of the Chinese invested overseas industrial parks. Among the top destinations are Russia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Malaysia.

However, some of the industrial parks overseas are also challenged with poor risk resistance capacity.

China should come up with a more complete management and operation mode, said Wei Houkai, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.