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Foreign officials applaud Initiative

Updated: Apr 11,2017 9:45 AM     China Daily

From a business and investment perspective, the Belt and Road Initiative will benefit not only China but also economies in Asia and Europe, said several foreign officials.

Forty-seven officials from 14 countries began a 15-day seminar on energy strategies of the Belt and Road Initiative economies in Beijing recently.

China University of Petroleum jointly organized the seminar with the Academy for International Business Officials of the Ministry of Commerce.

At the event, Ahmady Mohammad Yasin, an official from Afghanistan’s Ministry of Energy and Water, said the initiative is important for every country.

As Afghanistan has abundant resources, he hoped the two countries could have more cooperation in the energy and mining sectors.

“The Belt and Road Initiative is not only for China, Asia, Europe, but also the whole world,” Shambhu Prasad Ghimire, adviser to the deputy speaker of the Legislature-Parliament Secretariat of Nepal, said.

“It makes very good connection with each other, not only for development but also for the happiness and the prosperity of the people,” he added.

Ghimire said China has cooperated with Nepal in infrastructure from the very beginning. He is looking forward to cooperation in health and education, in particular, in building hospitals in rural areas and polytechnic schools that impart practical skills.

The Belt and Road Initiative “shows the leadership of China and its responsibility for the rest of the world”, said Loannis Economides, senior industrial extension officer in Cyprus’ Ministry of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism.

Cyprus has rich natural gas reserves. At present some international companies, including Total, Eni, Kogas and ExxonMobil are exploring natural gas in the exclusive economic zone in Cyprus, Economides said.

He hoped that Chinese companies will join in the country’s natural gas exploration in future.

“We hope that in future we’ll get a Chinese company as well. If there are more discoveries, I’m sure that will interest Chinese companies because this is in line with the energy policy of China,” he added.

Economides is optimistic about progress in liquefied natural gas as it is more environmentally friendly than oil.

Being near to the Suez Cannel, Cyprus has been a base for international shipping management companies. He hoped that Chinese companies would also base themselves there to manage their fleet.

Cyprus has a trade deficit with China and it hopes to export more to China in the future and is seeking such opportunities under the Belt and Road Initiative, he said.

Data provided by the China University of Petroleum show 55 percent of the world’s proved reserves of crude oil and more than 76 percent of the proved reserves of natural gas come from the economies along the Belt and Road Initiative.

In 2014, 71.5 percent of China’s oil imports and 96.1 percent of its natural gas imports came from the economies along the Belt and Road Initiative.

By 2016, China oil majors including China National Petroleum Corp and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp had invested some 200 oil and gas projects in more than 50 economies along the Belt and Road Initiative, according to a blue book issued by the China Petroleum Enterprise Association and China Oil and Gas Center.

Another area Cyprus and China can work together is shipping, Economides said. Several shipping management companies have been based in Cyprus given the geological advantage of Cyprus and proximity to the Suez Canal. He suggested that “in the future Chinese shipping companies can have abase in Cyprus to manage their fleet”.

The university said it is proud of the tradition of training personnel to accommodate the globalization of Chinese oil and gas giants.

Amid increasing interest in the Belt and Road Initiative, it plans to start overseas student recruitment this year in its new campus in Karamay city, a key linkage on the Belt and Road routes and located in China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.