Commentary: Don't miss the opportunities afforded by Belt & Road

Source: Xinhua| 2017-05-05 22:38:08|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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BEIJING, May 5 (Xinhua) -- China is now exporting a new product, the Belt and Road (B&R) Initiative, a transnational network that could generate opportunities for trade and infrastructure projects worth billions of dollars.

Hailed by many as the most important public goods China has provided to the world, the initiative is a uniquely Chinese solution that can help pull the world out of the current economic quagmire, with a more inclusive model that runs counter to protectionism and unilateralism.

As the world economy is still reeling from the 2008 financial crisis, it is in urgent need of an efficient, inclusive platform that can help all parties cope with the global challenges.

With openness, inclusiveness and win-win cooperation at its core, the land-based Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road will result in better transportation infrastructure, increased investment, upgraded trade facilitation, enhanced financial cooperation and improved cultural exchanges.

In the spirit of openness and inclusiveness, China has explicitly stated that the initiative is open to all like-minded countries and regions that are keen to secure a stake in a project based on extensive participation.

In the spirit of win-win cooperation, China has no intention of monopolizing the benefits or even seizing the lion's share. All partner countries must have the opportunity to take on as much, or as little as they can bear.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and the success of any proposal will be reliant on its implementation.

More than 100 countries and international organizations have already expressed support for the initiative, of which more than 40 have signed cooperation agreements with China.

An interconnected infrastructure network is taking shape. Trade and investment has increased significantly. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and Silk Road Fund both provide support for financial cooperation.

China Railway Express trains to Europe are now operating across Eurasia, loaded with goods that match the market needs of the countries along the route.

As a standout example of the B&R Initiative, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which includes a collection of infrastructure projects currently under construction throughout Pakistan, is expected to drive Pakistan's GDP growth from around 4.7 percent in 2015 to around 6 percent by 2019.

Admittedly, the B&R Initiative has had its fair share of difficulties and challenges, including technical, language and cultural barriers with so many countries involved.

These early results, however, demonstrate the great potential and feasibility of the huge project.

Though the B&R proposal is "Made by China," it is for all countries to enjoy and entails all partners to contribute.

Guided by the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, China is striving to make the initiative more sustainable by building understanding and increasing synergy between B&R countries' development plans with the initiative.

As part of the efforts, the upcoming Belt and Road Forum (BRF) for International Cooperation, on May 14 and 15, is expected to facilitate dialogue and action on important bilateral and multi-lateral cooperation fields.

Success of the initiative will create new development opportunities and improve the lives of hundreds of millions of people.