by Xinhua writer Gui Tao
BEIJING, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- The past five years have seen Britain take a lead in the West in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) cooperation.
Known for its pragmatism, strategic vision and policy boldness, Britain was the first major Western country to apply to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), sign the Guiding Principles on Financing the Development of the Belt and Road, and provide funding for the AIIB Project Preparation Special Fund.
The AIIB is an important source of funding for the China-proposed BRI, which aims to build trade and infrastructure networks along the ancient Silk Road routes.
More and more British politicians and business people are seeing the BRI as a goodwill invitation. They believe working with the massive economic program can benefit Britain's own growth plans.
Amid challenges today posed by a surge in unilateralism and protectionism, the BRI is even more relevant for the post-Brexit Britain that pledges to be a "global Britain."
Launched in 2013, the initiative has proved to be capable of bringing enormous growth opportunities and will hopefully, provide a certainty London craves after exiting the European Union (EU).
Despite differences in political systems, Britain-China relations are enjoying a "golden era." London has declared clear-cut support for the BRI and welcomes the opportunities it brings for a prosperous and sustainable Asia and world.
Britain can well lead BRI cooperation in the West also due to its unique competitive advantages that make it a "natural partner." For example, it boasts a strong track record in delivering good infrastructure that supports development and growth, increases connectivity and trade, reduces costs, and improves access to public services like education and health. These principles lie at the heart of BRI projects.
As British Chancellor Philip Hammond put it, Britain has the skills and capabilities to make infrastructure projects attractive to private investors. Its construction industry can offer necessary expertise to the technically challenging BRI projects.
These projects also inevitably involve complicated contractual arrangements. British law firms with expertise in this area can play an important role in helping deal with cross-border contracts.
Financing is traditionally another strong point of Britain's. In areas ranging from asset management, banking and capital market to insurance, there is a huge potential for British companies to tap with the BRI partners.
By taking an active part in BRI projects, Britain will benefit itself while helping the projects to maintain high standards, high quality and high rewards. It will serve as a role model and provide a roadmap for other Western countries in BRI cooperation.