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Xinhua Headlines: Int’l community casts vote of confidence in Belt and Road

Abstract : The Fifth Silk Road International Exposition has attracted more than 1,900 envoys and guests from 98 countries and regions such as Slovakia, Belgium, the Republic of Korea, Tajikistan and Zambia. Joint efforts to push for deeper Belt and Road (B&R) economic cooperation are high on the agenda.


The Fifth Silk Road International Exposition has attracted more than
1,900 envoys and guests from 98 countries and regions. Joint efforts to
push for deeper Belt and Road economic cooperation are high on the
agenda.


With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging across the globe, the
enthusiasm of the international community in jointly promoting
high-quality Belt and Road cooperation is tantamount to a resounding
vote of confidence in the program.

By Xinhua writers Han Xiao, Zhou Erjie, Li Hua and Wang Ze

XI’AN,
May 12 (Xinhua) — Adjei Peter Junior banged an African drum and danced
to the exciting rhythm, with the surrounding crowd drawn to the
intriguing musical instrument.

It
was not the scene of a party. Rather, the manager of Ghana Opace Group
was using the dance to promote the company’s products such as drums and
wooden handicrafts at the ongoing Fifth Silk Road International
Exposition in Xi’an, capital of northwest China’s Shaanxi Province.

“We can go all round China for business, and it is a huge market for our products,” he said.

Themed
“Interconnection, Contribution and Shared Benefits,” the expo has
attracted more than 1,900 envoys and guests from 98 countries and
regions such as Slovakia, Belgium, the Republic of Korea, Tajikistan and
Zambia. Joint efforts to push for deeper Belt and Road (B&R)
economic cooperation are high on the agenda.

Participants
at the expo said that with the COVID-19 pandemic still raging across
the globe, the enthusiasm of the international community in jointly
promoting high-quality B&R cooperation is tantamount to a resounding
vote of confidence in the program.

“It
reflects the great and growing interest of countries in achieving the
goals of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and re-establishing the
links of the ancient Silk Road,” said Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz
Kamilov.

“We
must work together to find new development drivers and growth points,”
he said, adding that active participation in the B&R is needed to
realize these goals.

Chinese
State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi addresses the opening
ceremony of the Fifth Silk Road International Exposition and the
Investment and Trade Forum for Cooperation between East and West China
via video link in Xi’an, capital city of northwest China’s Shaanxi
Province on May 11, 2021. (Xinhua/Wei Xiang)

ROBUST TRADE, INVESTMENT LINKS

Since
the BRI was proposed in 2013, China has carried out development
cooperation and contributed to policy, infrastructure, trade, financial
and people-to-people connectivity based on the needs of individual
countries, creating space and opportunities to promote high-quality
B&R cooperation.

Since
2013, China has signed cooperation agreements with a total of 140
countries and 31 international organizations under the BRI, said Chinese
State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in a video address to the
expo.

The
total trade volume between China and the B&R countries amounted to
9.2 trillion U.S. dollars from 2013 to 2020, and combined investment by
Chinese enterprises in these countries had reached 136 billion U.S.
dollars, according to Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen.

In
this year’s government work report, China pledged to jointly build the
B&R with high quality, pushing cooperation on major projects in an
orderly manner. The country has also vowed to promote the high-quality
development of the B&R during the 14th Five-Year Plan period
(2021-2025).

People
view an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) displayed at the Fifth Silk Road
International Exposition in Xi’an, capital of northwest China’s Shaanxi
Province, May 11, 2021.  (Xinhua/Zhang Bowen)

In
2020, Malaysia’s trade with China, its largest trading partner for 12
consecutive years, expanded by 4.2 percent to 78.5 billion U.S. dollars,
accounting for 18.6 percent of its total trade volume, compared with
17.2 percent in 2019.

“We
are delighted to observe positive development in bilateral trade
between Malaysia and China in 2020, despite all the great challenges due
to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Nur Azni Aziz, director of the Malaysia
External Trade Development Corporation Chengdu Representative Office,
at the expo.

In
2020, China remained the second-largest foreign investor in Indonesia,
with the total investment value at 4.8 billion U.S. dollars, rising 2.1
percent from the same period in 2019.

There
is plentiful cooperative potential waiting for the two countries, said
Marina Novira Anggraini, commercial counselor of the Indonesian Embassy
in Beijing, citing digital services in manufacturing as a potential area
where the two countries can cooperate more in the future.

Wang
Yi said China will seek to create more space and identify better routes
for the joint building of the B&R, thus further unleashing the
potential of China’s huge market, and creating more opportunities for
the world.

A
Yuxin’ou (Chongqing-Xinjiang-Europe) China-Europe freight train leaves
the Tuanjie Village Station of southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality,
March 19, 2021. (Xinhua/Tang Yi)

NEW GROWTH DRIVER

Thanks
to smoother trade channels under the BRI, emerging industries such as
cross-border e-commerce have become bright spots in promoting the
economic development of B&R countries.

“E-commerce
is becoming a new and prospective economic driver for the Belt and Road
development,” said Teymur Nadiroghlu, trade representative at the
Embassy of the Azerbaijan Republic to China, at the expo. He added that
the e-commerce market enables companies from various countries to gain
international exposure for their products and services.

Due
to the pandemic, many brick-and-mortar stores in Kazakhstan were not
able to open. Chinese businessman Yuan Zhaohui has managed to blaze a
trail through win-win cooperation with his foreign partners.

His
company Silkroad City Shop teamed up with over 2,000 local online
influencers in Kazakhstan to promote products including home furnishings
and mini electric appliance via livestreaming on social media platforms
such as Instagram.

At
the same time, he set up his own delivery teams in 18 cities in
Kazakhstan and hired local people as couriers, which helped to reduce
delivery costs while boosting local employment.

Last
year, Silkroad City Shop raked in more than 200 million yuan (about
31.12 million U.S. dollars) in revenue, with sales promoted by
livestreaming contributing about one-tenth of the total.

Yuan
stressed the role that the China-Europe freight train service played in
spurring the growth of his company. “Thanks to the railway cargo
service, the transportation cost can get cut in half compared to
previous transport channels,” he said.

Amid
pressure from a supply chain shattered by COVID-19, China-Europe
freight trains stand out as a competitive alternative. The number of
China-Europe freight trains hit 3,398 in the first quarter of this year,
up 75 percent year on year, and the number of monthly train trips has
exceeded 1,000 for 11 consecutive months.

The
China-Europe cargo service will be improved to spur the development of
cross-border e-commerce, according to a three-year action plan released
at the expo.

China
will set up a green service mechanism for cross-border e-commerce firms
via the China Railway Express (Chang’an), with more new routes
developed to facilitate international cargo flows, the plan states.

(Video reporters: Li Hua, Xin Zhiru, Lei Xiaoxiao, Zhang Bowen, Guo Gang, Cheng Nan; Video editor: Zhou Sa’ang)

About Xinhua Silk Road

Xinhua Silk Road (en.imsilkroad.com) is the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) portal.China’s silk road economic belt and the 21st century maritime silk road website,includes BRI Policy, BRI Trade, BRI Investment, Belt and Road weekly, Know Belt and Road, and the integrated information services for the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Source: Xinhua Headlines: Int’l community casts vote of confidence in Belt and Road

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