Business / Economy

China's Belt and Road Initiative to give new impetus to world economic growth

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-11-16 10:48

JERUSALEM - China's Belt and Road Initiative is expected to give a new impetus to the global economy by increasing investment, improving infrastructure and promoting economic integration and people-to-people exchanges among the countries it covers, Israeli experts told Xinhua in recent interviews.

"I think it's a very smart move because it will bring investment and infrastructure to countries that need this kind of investment, so that is very positive," said Alexander Pezvner, founding director of the Chinese Media Center at Israel's College of Management.

Pezvner said the initiative, put forward by Chinese President Xi Jinping in late 2013, poses a win-win situation for the Chinese economy and the global economy, which "is facing headwinds all over in the West."

Vision for free trade zone in Eurasia

Pezvner believed that besides bringing more investment to and improving infrastructure in relevant countries, the Belt and Road Initiative will help advance the integration of economies along the routes, bring stability to fragile areas and enhance people-to-people exchanges.

Pezvner said that the Belt and Road Initiative holds the promise of achieving more than just bilateral ties. "In the future maybe ... perhaps a free trade zone that will cover all of the Eurasian continent if it works," he said, citing the planned free trade talks between Israel and China.

Hagai Shagrir, director of the Northeast Asia Department of Israel's Foreign Ministry, predicted that the Belt and Road Initiative will bring more standardization among the countries which are part of this vision and help lower barriers in trade between them.

Israel hopes to start the actual negotiations on free trade with China at the beginning of 2016, Shagrir said, stressing that a feasibility study showed that an Israel-China free trade deal will be very beneficial for both countries, for their economies and also for their people-to-people exchanges.

He revealed that in the coming weeks, Israel will start negotiating with China a new type of visa, valid for 10 years, for tourists and business people in order to expand the people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.

Potential contribution to regional peace

Pezvner observed that the biggest challenge for the Belt and Road Initiative is that the area it covers passes through some unstable spots in the Middle East.

Nevertheless, he predicted that when those conflict-plagued countries are faced "with a choice of joining the development train of China," they will choose to join and not continue with their war.

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