Interview: APEC officials interested in Belt and Road Initiative, describing it as positive

Source: Xinhua| 2017-05-20 21:16:23|Editor: Song Lifang
Video PlayerClose

HANOI, May 20 (Xinhua) -- Senior officials from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) have shown interest in the Belt and Road Initiative, describing it as positive.

"We were very interested in hearing about the initiative with some briefings by Chinese officials last week," Alan Bollard, executive director of the APEC Secretariat, told Xinhua on the sidelines of the 23rd APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT23) Meeting here on Saturday.

"It is a very big project, which is different from a trade agreement so we see it as a whole series of infrastructure projects and economic connectivity. The economic connectivity part is much in line with the APEC's connectivity blueprint. It's interesting to see what it can produce," said Bollard.

Sharing the same view, Denis Hew, director of the APEC Policy Support Unit, said to Xinhua "I see 'Belt and Road' as a chance of improving connectivity. The initiative shares many common interests with APEC as APEC adopted a blueprint a few years ago and the implementation is still ongoing."

Noting that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) also has a master plan on connectivity, Hew said the Asia-Pacific region "has a big infrastructure gap, like it needs some 800 to 900 billion U.S. dollars in infrastructure development every year."

Hew concluded that "Any initiative like 'Belt and Road' that helps support the regional connectivity is a positive initiative."

Regarding the MRT23, Bollard said amid rising doubts on globalization and free trade, "the meeting has been continuing to look at a wide range of measures to realize the goal on sustainable and inclusive growth that leaders have reached in Lima last year."

The official seemed to be quite optimistic about the prospects of global growth as "Actually, we are seeing stronger growth in the last few months in the economy and trade. We know that we have to look for some structural reforms for the future."

As more of the growth is not contributed from the traditional industries but it is much more from services, Bollard said APEC members "have much interest in electronic economy so we are looking for some new generation of the growth."