Workers conduct a final check on vehicles before they go off the production line at an assembly workshop of a passenger vehicle manufacturing base of Dongfeng Liuzhou Motor Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Dongfeng Motor Group, Jan. 2018. (Photo from CFP)
Last year, trade volume between China and countries along the Belt and Road amounted to $1.1 trillion, up 14.8 percent year-on-year, which is 3.4 percentage points higher than the growth of the country’s total foreign trade, Chinese Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan told a press conference on March 11.
The Belt and Road initiative, proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, refers to building a Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
Over the past five years, the initiative has been positively echoed by over 140 countries and regions, and fruitful cooperation achievements have been yielded under its framework, Zhong told the press conference held on the sidelines of the first session of the 13th National People’s Congress.
Praising a more diversified investment portfolio, the minister said that China has altogether invested over $60 billion to on-route countries in various sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and infrastructure.
He pointed out that a group of big projects are making steady progress as well, including the construction of railways, expressways and ports, cooperation programs on energy and resources and the operation of manufacturing projects.
The international freight service on a sea-rail combined transport route linking southwestern Chongqing to the eastern port city of Ningbo kick off as a train carrying goods sets off from Tuanjiecun train station in Chongqing on Jan. 23, 2018. (Photo from CFP)
China has established 75 zones for economic and trade cooperation in countries along the routes, with a total investment of more than $27 billion, Zhong said.
The minister said the Belt and Road should be built into a road of peace, prosperity, opening up as well as innovation, and one that connects different civilizations.
For the next step, the ministry will launch new cooperation platforms including the first China International Import Expo, build major investment and foreign aid projects and make them well received like “shiny pearls along the Belt and Road,” the minister pledged.
China will also facilitate e-commerce through big data, promote the liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment along the Belt and Road and implement major foreign aid projects, he added.
The first unit of Port Qasim coal-fired power plant is inaugurated on Nov. 29, 2017, in Karachi, Pakistan. It is the first energy project under the cooperation framework of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). (Photo from CFP)