China will sign economic and trade cooperation agreements with more than 30 countries and undertake 100 projects to promote trade and investment in countries and regions related to the Belt and Road Initiative as part of its efforts to make global trade more convenient, according to Zhong Shan, minster of commerce, speaking on May 14.
“We will accelerate policy implementation of the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement and further simplify regulatory procedures in areas such as customs clearance, quarantine and taxation,” Zhong said, at a session about trade connectivity at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.
The ministry predicted that during the next five years, China will import goods worth as much as $8 trillion, including $2 trillion in shipments from countries and regions related to the initiative, while Chinese companies will invest more than $750 billion and up to 500 million tourists will head overseas.
Between 2014 and last year, Chinese companies made outbound direct investment worth $50 billion in nonfinancial sectors and signed project contracts worth $305 billion in countries and regions related to the initiative, according to ministry data.
Next year, China will hold an international import fair to expand imports and allow more foreign products to enter the domestic market, Zhong said.
Shen Danyang, the ministry’s spokesman, said the Belt and Road Initiative is an effective tool to tackle narrow-minded protectionism and isolationism, because Chinese investment and technologies will gradually shape the global value chain, further stimulating new trading activities.
“Companies from the United States and Australia certainly have the chance to supply their products to big-ticket projects such as the construction of the China-Laos railway and the China-Thailand railway,” Shen said.