Business / Macro

China's Belt & Road Initiative benefits countries along route: economists

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-09-27 13:53

WASHINGTON - China's Belt and Road Initiative has become a "real" and "crucial" strength for the development of the countries covered by the initiative, economists and entrepreneurs said on Monday.

"Since 2014, more than 300 projects, more than $75 billion have been announced by Chinese investors," said Agris Preimanis, lead economist for Central Asia, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), at an event on China's Belt and Road Initiative held by the Eurasia Center.

"Many more by others like ourselves (EBRD) and other investors in those countries, so it is real," Preimanis added.

The economist said the Belt and Road Initiative is "crucial" for those countries covered by the initiative because it has created "a platform for building more competitive industries" as investments have gone beyond infrastructure to energy, e-commerce and telecom connectivity.

"The Belt and Road Initiative will be the biggest undertaking ever by mankind. It involves dozens of nations, billions of people, trillions of dollars of investments and it will help to connect nations further, to further bring peace and prosperity," said Tom Pellette, group president of Construction Industries at Caterpillar Inc, a leading US manufacturer of construction and mining equipment.

"We are very excited that Caterpillar is part of it," said Pellette.

Entrepreneurs believed the future sustainable development of this initiative cannot be accomplished by one country alone.

"This initiative is not just an initiative proposed by the Chinese government. It is an initiative to build a community with shared interest, destiny and responsibility featuring mutual political trust and economical integrity as well as cultural inclusiveness," said Fang Qiuchen, chairman of China International Contractors Association.

"I think this initiative is very open and inclusive. I would welcome all the countries, all the organizations internationally and regionally to be fully engaged, not limited to the old Silk Road countries," said Fang.

Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the initiative in 2013, which refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt that links China with Europe through central and western Asia by inland routes, and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road connecting China with southeast Asia, Africa and Europe by sea routes.

Statistics released by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce showed Chinese enterprises directly invested a total of $14.82 billion in 49 countries within the cooperation framework of the Belt and Road Initiative in 2015, up 18.2 percent compared with the previous year.

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