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Belt and Road Initiative needs good laws

By Liu Mingkang and Lu Wenzhi | China Daily | Updated: 2016-01-22 08:12

Since its introduction by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative (the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road) - an ambitious plan to revitalize the ancient Silk Road overland and maritime trade routes linking East and West - has attracted considerable attention. And for good reason: The project, which involves more than 60 countries and quite a few international organizations, implies unprecedented opportunities - and challenges.

From China's perspective, the logic behind the strategy is clear. With its sources of GDP growth coming under increasing strain, China must continue to make progress in opening-up the economy. That means building mutually beneficial relationships with neighboring countries, which can benefit by taking over some of China's lower-value-added activities. That promises to boost their own growth while creating space for the Chinese economy to move up the value chain, where productivity and wages - important determinants of consumption - are higher.

China's comparative advantages, including a global financial center in Hong Kong and a regional financial center in Shanghai, reinforce its leadership role. Add to that the recent surge in fast-growing, innovative companies - such as Huawei, Alibaba, and Wanda - and China is well placed to implement Xi's grand vision.

Belt and Road Initiative needs good laws

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