nsucurrent.com May 23, 2018

China's Xi outlines plans for wide cooperation in trade plan

16 May 2017, 09:12 | Ricardo Garza

During his address at the One Belt One Road (OBOR) conference, boycotted by New Delhi, in Beijing on Sunday, Pakistan's Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif said that the CPEC was an "economic undertaking open to all countries in the region".

"Hopefully (Belt and Road) is not a one-way street but a two-way", said Joerg Wuttke, president of the European chamber of commerce in Beijing.

Xi said China would contribute 100 billion yuan ($14.5 billion) to the Silk Road Fund, which was set up in 2014 to finance infrastructure projects and provide aid worth 60 billion yuan ($8.7 billion) to developing countries and global organizations taking part in the initiative to revive the ancient trade route.

"Pursuing the Belt and Road initiative, China has no intention to form a small group detrimental to stability", as the pursuit of the initiative requires a peaceful and stable environment, Xi said.

Speaking before an audience that included the Russian president Vladimir Putin, Mr Xi said his government had "no desire to impose our will on others".

China emphasised its commitment to shared global development by pledging additional funds, which include a $14.5bn injection into the $40bn Silk Road Fund.

The latest figures indicate that trade between the two had reached US$220 billion in 2014 while China's direct investment in Africa topped US$30 billion in the same year.

The project would see China build massive amounts of infrastructure worldwide to boost trade.

Xi said the world must create conditions that promote open development and encourage the building of systems of "fair, reasonable and transparent global trade and investment rules".

Earlier on Monday, Xi urged major multilateral institutions to join the Belt and Road initiative, stressing the importance of rejecting protectionism in seeking global economic growth.

The forum is the highest-level meeting on the Belt and Road Initiative since it was put forward by Xi in 2013.

"We have every reason to be confident in the future of the Belt and Road", Xi said.

"Spanning thousands of miles and years, the ancient silk routes embody the spirit of peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit", Xi said.

"As regards the potential debt burden, Pakistan's repayments will peak at around United States dollars 5 billion in 2022, but this will be offset by transit fees charged in the CPEC", it quoted a media report and referred to Nepal officially signing a deal with China to join the Belt and Road with plans to build a cross-border rail link that may cost up to USD 8 billion. This is another area the Trump administration has made a decision to eschew, potentially further strengthening China's global position.

He added that the initiative would open up Rwanda to the world more than ever before.

Chinese companies may be taking risks in expanding to less developed areas along the Belt and Road routes, but they could be risks well worth taking.

India has reservations about the project because it passes through Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir, which India says challenges its sovereignty by lending legitimacy to Pakistan's claim over the territory. "It is really grounded in certain objectives such as economic and financial realities", Rehman said.

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