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China's Belt and Road Forum 'may equal G20 in importance'

By Fu Jing in Brussels | | Updated: 2017-03-25 00:51

The China-led Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, due to be inaugurated in May in Beijing, is expected to emerge as another global policy coordination platform similar to G20 summit in terms of importance, according to a leading European expert.

"I think it's a very important event and occasion, and in some respect, it is becoming as important as the G20 summit," Bruno Macaes, partner of London-based consultancy company Flint Global and former Portuguese Minister for Europe told China Daily on Friday.

After speaking at a China-themed seminar in Brussels on Friday, Macaes pointed out the significance of the forum on 14-15 May, based on the number of countries that would attend and the importance of issues that are going to be discussed.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi said earlier that more than 20 heads of state and government, over 50 leaders of international organizations, over 100 ministerial-level officials, as well as over 1,200 delegates from various countries and regions will participate in forum in May.

Macaes, who has closely watched the development of Belt and Road Initiative since it was proposed by President Xi Jinping in late 2013, said the forum will be inclusive, with think tank experts, civil society representatives discussing together with political leaders.

"I think the forum and the topics related to it will be discussed widely soon," he said.

As the Belt and Road Initiative has already been accepted by more than 100 countries in the world, China has realized importance of setting up a platform to discuss the connectivity across different regions and continents and free flow of capital, goods and other productivity elements

Macaes said the China-proposed initiative is not only about transport and infrastructural construction, adding that promotion of free trade and deep economic integration among the countries are also essential part of the plan.

Based on exchanges with Chinese officials, Macaes said the early benefits of the Belt and Road initiative included the dozens of industrial parks which have already been constructed in the Belt and Road countries.

Macaes said China intends to align its development with the rest of the world by coordinating industrial policy decisions with other countries through political dialogues.

"So in my opinion, this initiative is about global supply chain and deep economic integration," said Macaes.

(Zheng Jingqiang and Zhang Zhaoqing contributed to the story)

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