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Wang Yiwei: Belt, Road forum to cure protectionism

2017-02-10

Source: Global Times    Published: 2017-2-9

 

The Belt and Road forum will project China, which supports globalization, as the ballast for the world economy in the face of rising protectionism in the West, analysts said.


Chinese President Xi Jinping said in January that the Belt and Road forum, which will be held in Beijing in May, will tackle interconnected development.


The forum will explore ways to address regional and global economic problems, generate fresh energy for interconnected development, and ensure that the Belt and Road Initiative delivers greater benefits to people in the affected countries, Xi said.


Chu Yin, associate professor at the University of International Relations, told the Global Times on Wednesday that China will use the forum to tell the world that "China`s determination to support globalization and take on greater responsibility for the world economy`s recovery is the strongest certainty in this uncertain world."


US President Donald Trump has many people worried with his "America first" policy and protectionist stance.


European countries such as France, Italy and Germany are also facing protectionist challenges.


"The future of globalization and the world economy are extremely uncertain," Chu said, "And the forum in May will reinforce confidence in the world economy."


Grand plans


Many countries have been invited by China, and some of them have confirmed their attendance.


Reuters reported on Wednesday that "China has invited British Prime Minister Theresa May to attend a major summit in May" on international cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative.


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte also said that "he will travel to Beijing in May for a high-level forum on international cooperation of the Belt and Road Initiative, and looks forward to having another meeting with President Xi Jinping."


According to the Belarusian Telegraph Agency (BelTA), China has invited Belarus.


The website of the Chinese foreign ministry quoted Foreign Minister Wang Yi as saying, "The upcoming forum will be a major event for China`s diplomacy in 2017 ... It is set to discuss plans for the future cooperation of the involved countries and organizations, explore ways to address regional and global economic problems, and generate fresh energy for interconnected development."


"Following a series of major diplomatic events in 2016, such as the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, APEC in Lima, Peru and the World Economic Forum in Davos, China has continuously reinforced the world`s confidence by expressing its determination to support globalization and criticize protectionism. The Belt and Road forum is more about the application because the Belt and Road Initiative involves projects and investments," Wang Yiwei, director of the Center for International Studies at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Wednesday.


Xi put forward the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013, with the aim of building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Roadtrade routes.


Since then, more than 100 countries and international organizations have expressed their support to the initiative, and over 40 countries and organizations have signed cooperation agreements with China, the Xinhua News Agency reported.


"China can release its excess capacity by developing other countries` infrastructure," Jin Canrong, a professor of international studies with the Renmin University of China, said, adding "it can also help ensure our energy supply and push the internationalization of the RMB."


Many infrastructure projects under the Belt and Road Initiative have been implemented in various countries, Wang Yiwei said, noting that "in practice, many new challenges and difficulties surfaced, which is also very normal, so the forum will also provide a platform for policymakers from different countries to discuss how they can deepen and improve cooperation and solve the problems."


Sustainable funding


A Xinhua report on Saturday quoted China Development Bank (CDB) President Zheng Zhijie as saying at an annual conference in Beijing that "the CDB`s key missions for 2017 include full support for the forum and increasing financial support for key countries and industries along the silk roads."


Wang Yiwei said financial support means China wants everyone to build a more reasonable financing mechanism. "Aside from China, other economic entities with financial capabilities can also contribute and enjoy the benefits."


"At the same time, developing countries which need financial support can receive more sustainable funding," Wang Yiwei added.

 

Wang Yiwei is a senior fellow of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China.

Key Words: Belt and Road   infrastructure   investment   Wang Yiwei  

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