CANBERRA, May 16 (Xinhua) -- The just-concluded two-day forum hosted by China on the Belt and Road Initiative shows China's willingness to further embrace globalization and trade, Australian Trade Minister Steve Ciobo said Tuesday.
Speaking in an interview with local Sky News TV, Ciobo, who attended the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation on Sunday, said the China-proposed initiative was a way to unite global economies for trade in a new era.
At the forum, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced hefty financial support to the initiative, with 100 billion yuan (about 14.5 billion U.S. dollars) to augment the Silk Road Fund, 380 billion yuan (55 billion dollars) equivalent in loans for infrastructure and development projects from Chinese policy banks, 300 billion yuan (43.5 billion dollars) to conduct overseas yuan fund businesses and 60 billion yuan (8.7 billion dollars) in aid to developing countries and international organizations.
The newly-pledged financial support showcased China's willingness to embrace free trade, he said, adding that China has made it clear that the initiative "is about maximizing opportunities" so as to promote growth and development on the Belt and Road routes.
Proposed in 2013b by Xi, the Belt and Road Initiative is a grand plan to connect Asia with Europe and Africa along, and beyond, ancient trade routes by putting in place an unparalleled trade and infrastructure network.
"Obviously China, like Australia, recognized that trade is absolutely crucial to driving economic growth. President Xi, in his opening remarks at the conference, made it very clear that China wants to engage in trade and investment throughout the world, and that's the same thing Australia wants to do."
Ciobo said Australia would only benefit by embracing the Belt and Road Initiative, as it would allow the Australian government to take advantage of new opportunities to help grow the local economy.
"We've seen the benefits that flow to the Australian economy, and by enhancing economic growth in Australia we can help drive job growth, so our ability to engage with China and to engage more broadly with the world ...bode well for a stronger economic future for Australia," he said.