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Belt and Road Initiative boosts trade, outbound investment

China has seen a surge in trade and investment activities related to the country’s Belt and Road Initiative.

According to the Ministry of Commerce, China’s trade with countries participating in the Belt and Road initiative totaled more than $740 billion in the first nine months of the year, accounting for around one quarter of China’s total foreign trade.

At the same time, Chinese companies’ investment in these countries surged by two thirds to top $12 billion, with Singapore, Kazakhstan, Laos, Indonesia and Russia as the top destinations.

The ministry says foreign investors enthusiasm has been given a boost since China announced a unified negative list for the country’s four pilot free trade zones. In the pilot free trade zones of Guangdong, Tianjin, and Fujian, launched in April, the numbers of their registered foreign firms have surged more than three times from a year ago.

“Guangdong pilot free trade zones has also launched a negative list for mainland investors, and a one-stop service. Fujian has streamlined approvals,” said Shen Danyang, spokesman of the ministry.

“Guangdong, Shanghai, Tianjin are also exploring innovative measures, such as ‘one-stop registration’ and ‘the E-license Card’.”

The Chinese commerce ministry notes that these measures have helped attract foreign investors, while providing momentum to China’s efforts to stabilize growth and upgrade the economy.