Business / Economy

Officials, businessmen in Xi'an to renew Silk Road glory

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-05-25 17:16

XI'AN - Tayyrbek Sarpashev, deputy prime minister of Kyrgyzstan, has had busy and fruitful days at the Silk Road International Exposition, which started on Friday in Northwest China's Xi'an city.

Besides signing several memorandums of cooperation with Chinese trade and construction firms, he made a keynote speech that promoted investment, trade and tourism.

"There are over 400 Chinese companies investing in fields such as energy, agriculture, transportation and infrastructure," Sarpashev said. "One Chinese petrol company alone has created more than 1,000 jobs in Kyrgyzstan."

Over 2,000 government officials, businessmen and scholars from 98 countries and regions are in Xi'an, the easternmost point of the ancient Silk Road, on the hunt for business opportunities and cooperation this week.

Kyrgyzstan, Thailand, Georgia, Cambodia and Kazakhstan have sent national leaders to lead the delegations. Another 42 important government figures attended the opening ceremony and parallel sessions.

During a leaders' dialogue, over 200 cabinet members, governors and representatives from various circles from the Czech Republic, Croatia, Kenya, the Republic of Korea, Turkey, Romania, Russia and other nations along the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road gathered to discuss issues concerning construction and cooperation related to the initiative.

Lee Chunhee, mayor of Sejong City, Korea, said his country would hopefully speed up development via beneficial cooperation with Silk Road countries. He said construction programs in Shaanxi province could offer a bridge for both sides to share urban planning experience and achievements.

Governor Gokhan Sozer of the Turkish province of Edirne said Turkey had already simplified customs clearance procedures with Silk Road countries to boost friendly exchanges. He said that in the future, the Silk Road, in addition to strengthening economic ties, would be a corridor that connects the East and the West.

Proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative is focused on bringing countries together to move toward the objectives of mutual benefit and common security.

The Chinese government published an action plan specifying the principles, framework, priorities and mechanism for the initiative in March. A $40 billion Silk Road Fund, designed to finance the Belt and Road Initiative, has also been launched.

In addition, substantive progress has been made on the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank with an authorized capital of $100 billion to fund infrastructure development.

Concrete actions have been also taken alongside the ongoing forum. A gold sector fund involving countries along the Silk Road has just been set up. The 100 billion yuan ($16.1 billion) fund is the largest gold fund in China.

About 60 countries have invested in the fund, which will facilitate gold purchase for the central banks of member states to increase their holdings of the precious metal and increase exploration in Silk Road countries such as Afghanistan and Kazakhstan.

A Silk Road university union was established on the first day of the forum, joining nearly 100 universities from 22 countries and regions along the Belt and Road.

Wang Lixia, vice-governor of Shaanxi province, said as over 80 percent of the world's cultural heritage are located in countries along the Belt and Road, deepened tourism cooperation will encourage cultural exchanges and promote mutual understanding, peace and friendship among people of different nations.

Wang said a ministerial conference on tourism of Silk Road countries will be held in Xi'an this June.

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