The China-proposed Belt and Road initiative, a trade and infrastructure network already in play to expand China’s exports and investment as well as bilateral trade with countries along the route, could generate further economic development by providing stakeholders with more information, experts and officials told Xinhua.
According to data released by the Central Administration of Customs (CAC) on July 13, China’s exports and investment increased steadily in the first half of 2015 as the country strengthened economic ties with the region.
In the meantime, bilateral trade with countries involved in the Belt and Road initiative reached close to 3 trillion yuan, about one fourth of the total trade volume.
However, information about national economies, data on such industries as manufacturing, agriculture, forestry and transportation, as well as policies on labor and taxation are largely difficult to acquire, yet they are greatly craved by countries passionate to join in the rapid development provided by the initiative.
D. Shurkhuu, a researcher with the Institute of International Studies at the Mongolian Academy of Sciences, said there is huge potential for the Belt and Road initiative to dovetail with Mongolia’s Steppe Road plan on the sidelines of the Ufa Summit, where China, Russia and Mongolia signed a memorandum aimed at promoting trilateral cooperation.
He said Mongolia wants to have more information on such topics as trade facilitation, preferential tax policy, agricultural products’ exports to China and logistics discounts, which will not only “help Mongolians to gain insight into China’s relevant policies” but also “support the implementation of certain projects.”
Meanwhile, officials in Kazakhstan said the country is eager to participate in projects along the Silk Road in the hope of introducing foreign high-tech enterprises to help develop its relatively single-product economy that heavily relies on exports. However, there is no agency, or institution, at home or abroad, to provide information on energy-related projects.
Ng Peng Hay, board member of the Malaysian Investment Development Authority, said he wished he could access comprehensive information on the projects along the Silk Road, saying the information he has acquired from local and Western media outlets is not always accurate, making it difficult for him to make investment decisions.
Faced with these needs, Xinhua News Agency, one of the world’s leading news organizations and China’s state media, has decided to create a product series named “Xinhua Silk Road,” which provides information collection, publication, information screening and customized services, as well as a business connection platform as an overall business information solution to investors in the Belt and Road initiative.
“Xinhua Silk Road” integrates four key products and services, including the Silk Road Database, Xinhua Credit Reports, Consulting & Thinktank Services and the Xinhua Silk Road IM System, which are committed to generating quality information to facilitate policy communication, trade exchange, financing and cultural intercourse with the Belt and Road region so as to help Xinhua partners better seize business opportunities and eliminate risks.
“China is a rapidly developing economy. Any economic information service of China and from China is important both for the economic development of Egypt and the decision-making body in Egypt,” said Abdel-Khaleq Farouk, director of the Nile River Economic and Strategic Research Center.
Dr. Shimail Daud, member of the board of directors of Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the Belt and Road countries must not have any doubts concerning the need for economic and financial information about the Belt and Road projects.
“They must have it because with such information, their businessmen, decision-makers, investors and rulers and others can keep themselves up to date to improve their performance and decide better,” Daud said.