In the nine years since the joint construction of the “Belt and Road” initiative was proposed, the “Belt and Road” construction has continued to develop through cooperation, and has built a platform for international cooperation with extensive participation. It has become a vivid practice to promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind, attracting The global vision also allows the world to share the wisdom of China‘s initiatives. With the deepening of cooperation, the construction of the “Belt and Road” has continued to advance in the direction of high-quality development. Focusing on the joint construction of the “Belt and Road”, this issue invites experts to discuss in depth.
Moderator Xu Xiangmei, director of the theory department and researcher of this newspaper
Form a new pattern of all-round opening to the outside world
Moderator: Please briefly introduce the value connotation of the “Belt and Road” initiative, the development process of international cooperation and the achievements.
Zhai Dongsheng (Director of the “Belt and Road” Construction Promotion Center of the National Development and Reform Commission): The joint construction of the “Belt and Road” is an important measure for my country to open up to the outside world, a top-level design of economic diplomacy, an initiative to promote the reform of the global governance system, and the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. These four basic positions have rich connotations as a practical platform for cooperation. Looking back on the 9 years, the joint construction of the “Belt and Road” has been brilliant, effectively and effectively implementing the above-mentioned development orientation. In 2016, 2018 and 2021, the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Symposiums on Promoting the Construction of the “Belt and Road” will be held. In 2017 and 2019, my country will hold the first and second “Belt and Road” International Cooperation Summit Forums, with the participation of dignitaries from many countries. . The joint construction of the “Belt and Road” initiative has received positive responses and participation from more and more countries. At present, my country has signed joint construction documents with more than 140 of the 180 countries that have established diplomatic relations, and many international institutions, large multinational companies, and non-governmental organizations have also Support participation in the joint construction of the “Belt and Road”.
The good cooperation in the joint construction of the “Belt and Road” has been successfully opened, and solid and heavy achievements have been made.
Infrastructure connectivity has played an important role in improving regional production and living conditions and promoting economic globalization. From 2015 to 2021, my country’s contracted project turnover in countries along the “Belt and Road” has accumulated to US$598.88 billion, of which it will reach US$89.68 billion in 2021, accounting for 57.9% of the turnover of foreign contracted projects. The scale of investment in infrastructure construction is large, the technical requirements are high, and the construction period is long. However, Chinese enterprises have built a large number of infrastructure projects such as transportation, communication, energy, water conservancy, and municipal administration in the countries along the “Belt and Road”, which have achieved good results and led to The “going out” of resource elements such as construction capacity, equipment and finance has made a great contribution to promoting the economic development of the target countries.
Foreign industrial investment has strongly stimulated rapid economic and social development. From 2015 to 2021, my country’s non-financial direct investment in countries along the “Belt and Road” reached US$112.5 billion, of which US$20.3 billion in 2021, accounting for about 17.9% of the national total. Private enterprises are an important force in overseas industrial investment. They have brought the method of building industrial parks overseas and built a number of overseas industrial parks, which have achieved remarkable results.
The scale and level of two-way trade has steadily increased, promoting mutual benefits. my country’s trade with countries along the “Belt and Road” has accelerated. From 2015 to 2021, the total trade in goods will be about 9.17 trillion US dollars, of which 1.8 trillion US dollars will be reached in 2021, accounting for about 29.7% of the national total. ASEAN is an important partner in the joint construction of the “Belt and Road”. In 2020, it will surpass the EU to become my country’s largest trading partner. my country’s expansion of commodity imports not only strongly supports the development of the world economy, but also enriches the domestic market and meets the diverse consumption needs of the people. “Tai Mang” from Thailand, durian from Malaysia, cherries from Chile, and lobster from Boston in the United States have entered the Chinese market in batches in recent years, and ordinary families can also afford them. The rapid growth of my country’s foreign trade has promoted the vigorous development of new business formats such as the China-Europe (Central Asia) train, the Air Silk Road, the new western land-sea corridor, and cross-border e-commerce. .
The green “Belt and Road” construction has achieved remarkable results, promoting the world‘s green and low-carbon development. Upholding the concept of prioritizing ecological and environmental protection in international cooperation, Chinese enterprises have built a number of new energy projects to contribute to the global response to climate change. According to incomplete statistics, in 2021 alone, Chinese enterprises will sign 48 new hydropower projects overseas, with a total contract value of 8.333 billion US dollars, 61 wind power projects and 125 photovoltaic projects (with a total investment of 5.71 billion US dollars). China Energy Construction Group Gezhouba International Company and Ghana Avior Energy Company signed a 70 MW photovoltaic power station project in Ahafu with a contract value of approximately RMB 420 million. After completion, it will greatly alleviate the power shortage in Ahafu Province, Ghana, and promote the Ghana market. Electricity business is developing continuously. The massive export of new energy equipment has strongly supported the development of the world‘s new energy industry, including developed countries in Europe and the United States. At present, my country’s wind power equipment output accounts for more than half of the world‘s total. In 2021, the export volume will be about 720 million US dollars, the export value of photovoltaic products is 28.4 billion US dollars, and the export of photovoltaic modules The output is 98.5 GW, and new energy vehicles are also exported in batches. In the fields of transportation, manufacturing, agriculture, etc., in design, construction, operation and maintenance, financing and other links, green development is becoming a new highlight and new theme of the joint construction of the “Belt and Road”.
Strengthen cooperation in health, agriculture, poverty reduction and other fields to effectively improve people’s livelihood and well-being. The joint construction of the “Belt and Road”, as a practical platform for building a community with a shared future for mankind, pays attention to the basic survival and development needs of the local people as the primary consideration. In terms of health and health, preliminary statistics show that from 2015 to 2019, my country sent 202 batches of more than 3,500 foreign aid medical team members to conduct free clinic visits, diagnosed and treated 11 million patients in total, and provided education and training to local medical staff, as well as donation of medicine and equipment. In the anti-epidemic cooperation since 2020, it has provided large quantities of anti-epidemic materials, testing reagents, vaccines, etc. to more than 150 countries and 4 international organizations, contributing Chinese wisdom and strength to the world‘s anti-epidemic efforts. At the same time, agricultural cooperation has been carried out in Africa, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and other countries. For example, Luban Workshop is the leading and innovative international cooperation brand of vocational education in Tianjin. Since 2016, 14 Luban workshops have been built in 12 countries, teaching cultivation and breeding. Technology and handicrafts, to promote crop yield and income.
In recent years, the economic and trade investment cooperation between my country and neighboring countries has been significantly strengthened, and the level of infrastructure connectivity has been greatly improved. The China-Europe (Central Asia) trains, the new western land-sea corridor, and the Air Silk Road are connected, driving the inland areas to open up to both ends. Inland cities such as Chongqing, Chengdu, Zhengzhou, Xi’an, Wuhan, and Changsha are becoming more internationalized. Urban transformation. my country has basically formed a new pattern of all-round opening to the outside world. Through the construction of the “Belt and Road”, the path to connect with the world has been dredged and expanded, and the flow of goods and people has become more convenient, laying a foundation for accelerating the construction of a new development pattern in the new era.
Creating new opportunities for sustainable development in Africa
Moderator: What achievements have China-Africa cooperation achieved since the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative?
Yang Baorong (Director of the Economic Research Office of the China Institute of African Studies): The implementation of the “One Belt, One Road” initiative has played a prominent role in deepening China-Africa cooperation, enhancing Africa’s development capabilities and boosting Africa’s progress towards a modern economy.
Africa is an important region for the joint construction of the “Belt and Road”. In the 2018 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation “Beijing Declaration on Building a Closer China-Africa Community with a Shared Future”, China and Africa agreed that deepening the “Belt and Road” cooperation is of great importance to China and Africa. Quality sustainable development is of great significance. The “Belt and Road” cooperation not only consolidates the traditional friendly cooperation between China and Africa, but also creates new opportunities for Africa to enhance its ability and level to participate in the global industrial chain and value chain under the conditions of new technologies, and to achieve sustainable development.
The “Belt and Road” cooperation actively implements the United Nations global sustainable development agenda, and vigorously makes up for the shortcomings of Africa’s infrastructure construction. The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation has repeatedly pointed out in its declarations that due to insufficient financing, lagging infrastructure is an important bottleneck for Africa’s development. From the “Millennium Development Goals” proposed by the UN General Assembly in 2000 to the adoption of the “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” in 2015, infrastructure construction in Africa has always been the primary content of international cooperation with Africa. However, from the perspective of international cooperation, there are basically no large-scale plans that directly focus on infrastructure construction cooperation, and the cooperation mode of helping African countries to change lagging infrastructure through individual project construction is not effective. In comparison, since the establishment of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, Chinese enterprises have used various funds to help African countries add and upgrade more than 10,000 kilometers of railways, nearly 100,000 kilometers of roads, nearly 1,000 bridges, nearly 100 ports, and power transmission and transformation. The line is 66,000 kilometers, the installed power capacity is 120 million kilowatts, the communication backbone network is 150,000 kilometers, and network services cover nearly 700 million user terminals. From 2016 to 2020, the total amount of infrastructure projects under construction in Africa is nearly 200 billion US dollars, and the proportion of projects implemented by Chinese enterprises in 2020 has reached 31.4%. China-Africa cooperation not only helps Africa to enhance its own “hematopoietic” function, but also the cooperation projects have laid a solid foundation for the industrial upgrading and development of relevant countries.
The “Belt and Road” cooperation meets Africa’s own development needs and plans, and promotes the common development of diverse civilizations. Since the 21st century, Africa has put forward a comprehensive regional and sub-regional development plan to achieve its own development through “partnership” in accordance with the changes in the international situation and development needs. The basic starting point is to maintain independent development in international cooperation. The China-Africa “Belt and Road” cooperation supports Africa through partnership, which is conducive to the construction of transnational and trans-regional infrastructure in Africa to build a unified large market, reduces the cost of homogeneous industrial cooperation, and facilitates intra-regional economic cooperation and resource flow. From 2013 to 2018, 44.65% of China‘s total foreign aid went to Africa. From 2000 to 2020, China participated in the construction of more than 13,000 kilometers of roads and railways, built more than 80 large-scale power facilities, aided the construction of more than 130 medical facilities, 45 gymnasiums, and more than 170 schools, and trained more than 160,000 talents in various fields for Africa. , greatly improving the investment environment of African countries, making them a hot spot for international industrial capital, and bringing new impetus to sustainable development.
The “Belt and Road” cooperation shares development experience with African countries, and explores new paths for developing countries to realize industrialization under the conditions of marketization. Large-scale industrialization and industrial upgrading require specific institutional conditions and environments. African countries have been actively exploring the road of large-scale industrialization, but due to the constraints of backward infrastructure and international cooperation environment, it is difficult to participate in international industrial cooperation at a higher level. In response to the long-term dilemma of growth and development in the international system for Africa, my country is actively exploring the new path of the “park approach”, proposing new approaches such as “electricity, mining, metallurgy, industry and trade” to promote the development of local industrialization from point to point, and Africa imports trade from China More than 50% of the total is concentrated in the fields of electromechanical and high-tech products. By the end of 2021, China has established production capacity cooperation mechanisms with 15 African countries. Driven by demonstration projects such as economic and trade cooperation zones, special economic zones, industrial parks, science and technology parks, and agricultural parks, China has invested in 21 projects with direct investment exceeding US$43 billion. More than 3,500 enterprises of various types have been established, employing more than 80% of local African employees, directly and indirectly creating millions of employment opportunities. From modern infrastructure to high value-added manufacturing, Chinese enterprises have entered Africa to promote the leapfrog development of local industries and contribute to changing the long-term lack of momentum for development.
China-Africa “Belt and Road” cooperation is becoming a leader in international cooperation models. How to bring the industrialized and modernized economy into more developing countries and promote local sustainable development is a world development problem to be solved by the “Belt and Road” cooperation. Under the conditions of new technologies, scientific and technological innovation cooperation, blue economy cooperation, digital economy and other fields have become important directions of China-Africa cooperation “Vision 2035”. The China-Africa Belt and Road Initiative emphasizes the development of innovation through cooperation, so that partners can share new opportunities for development and technological progress. Technological innovation has brought industrial upgrading, and industrial upgrading has driven the progress of development concepts and the transformation of cooperation methods. The achievements of China-Africa “Belt and Road” cooperation have accumulated experience for a wider range of countries in the world to carry out complementary cooperation and achieve balanced development on a larger scale.
The population of China and Africa exceeds 36% of the global total, and the common development of China and Africa is an important part of global sustainable development. Deepening China-Africa cooperation not only requires the international community to jointly create a good environment for cooperation, but also requires Africa to speed up infrastructure construction, improve economic and trade facilitation, and better participate in global industrial cooperation.
East Asia benefits from diversified cooperation
Moderator: How does the Belt and Road Initiative promote the economic interdependence, common development and prosperity of China and East Asian countries?
Shen Minghui (Deputy Dean and Researcher of the Institute of Asia-Pacific and Global Strategy, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences): The “Belt and Road” cooperation is a diversified cooperation mechanism, especially in East Asia.
One is the construction of infrastructure interconnection. The construction of economic corridors is the main platform for the joint construction of the “Belt and Road”. In the first stage of the “Belt and Road” construction, the construction of “hardware” infrastructure and industrial parks has created the foundation for the construction of transnational economic corridors. Taking the Indochina Peninsula as an example, China and Southeast Asian countries have not only cooperated to promote the construction of the Asian Highway Network, Trans-Asian Railway Network, and Land Port Network, but also promoted overseas economic and trade activities such as the Thailand-China Rayong Industrial Park in Thailand and the Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone in Cambodia. International production capacity cooperation represented by the cooperation zone. At the same time, China‘s Qinzhou Industrial Park and Malaysia’s Kuantan Industrial Park have jointly opened up a new cooperation model of “two countries and two parks”. Cooperation projects such as “two countries and two parks” and new international land-sea trade channels between China and the Philippines have also continuously enriched the region’s “Belt and Road Initiative”. all the way” construction. According to a 2019 World Bank study, international trade in East Asia and the Pacific will benefit most from the Belt and Road infrastructure construction, with trade in the region increasing by 3.8% by 2030, including 14.9% in Thailand and 12.4% in Malaysia. .
The second is the construction of free trade zones. Strengthening institutionalized construction is an inevitable requirement for the high-quality development of the “Belt and Road”, and free trade zones are an important carrier for the institutionalized construction of the “Belt and Road”. Based on the case study of the transnational economic corridor, the Asian Development Bank pointed out that the development of the economic corridor needs to go through four stages. In addition to the transportation infrastructure and the promotion of industrial development, the third stage should focus on trade facilitation. In fact, the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, which has laid an important foundation for cooperation in the joint construction of the “Belt and Road” in the region, has been “upgraded” in 2015 and will fully enter into force for all members of the agreement in 2019. This “upgrade” has significantly changed the rules of origin from a single standard in the past to a selective one, and optimized trade and investment facilitation measures, providing an institutional guarantee for further deepening China-ASEAN bilateral economic and trade relations. According to Chinese customs data, when the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area was launched in 2002, the bilateral trade volume was 54.8 billion US dollars, and in 2021, the bilateral trade volume reached 878.2 billion US dollars. From January to May 2022, the bilateral trade volume reached 371.2 billion US dollars. China and ASEAN have been each other’s largest trading partners for two consecutive years. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which will come into effect in 2022, not only achieves a 90% level of liberalization of trade in goods, but also significantly reduces non-tariff barriers through trade and investment facilitation measures to improve the regional development environment. According to a World Bank study in 2022, after taking into account factors such as reducing tariffs, reducing non-tariff barriers, and optimizing rules of origin, RCEP is expected to increase East Asian members’ exports by 3.7%, imports by 3.6%, and real GDP by 0.49% by 2035.
The third is the deepening of the regional value chain network. In East Asia, the construction of the “Belt and Road” is objectively reflected in the further deepening and reshaping of the regional value chain. A 2022 Asian Development Bank study shows that, excluding China, the share of intra-Asia and Pacific trade has been hovering at 40% for nearly 30 years. If China is considered, the proportion of intra-regional trade increases to 50%. This shows that China, as the core of the regional production network, has continuously deepened its economic and trade ties with regional economies under the drive of the “One Belt, One Road” initiative, and promoted the continuous improvement of the level of regional integration. In 2022, the Asian Development Bank estimated that based on the multi-regional input-output table, the participation in the Asian regional value chain will increase from about 65% in 2000 to 68.4% in 2019 and 68.9% in 2020, and the participation in the complex regional value chain in Asia will also increase from 2000. 23.4% in 2019 to 25.3% in 2019 and 26.0% in 2020. This reflects the deepening international division of labor in Asian economies and the sufficient resilience of regional value chain networks. According to data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, East Asian economies such as China, ASEAN, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand will absorb FDI of US$426.2 billion in 2021, accounting for 26.9% of global FDI flows, reflecting investors’ interest in East Asia. The overall industry chain is optimistic.
For the high-quality joint construction of the “Belt and Road” in East Asia, firstly, we must promote the construction of cross-border economic corridors through the alignment of strategies, plans and mechanisms. The ultimate realization of cross-border economic corridors requires coordination of regional development plans and policies in different countries. The “hard connectivity” of infrastructure in East Asia needs to gradually shift to the institutional “soft connectivity”. Through in-depth and detailed policy communication, the strategies, plans and mechanisms of various countries should be connected, so as to promote the real development of the corridor economy into a corridor economy and achieve regional sustainable development. Second, we must make efforts from the three aspects of expansion, quality improvement and efficiency enhancement, and promote the implementation of the strategy of upgrading the free trade zone. Promote the 3.0 upgrade of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area and the expansion and upgrading of RCEP, actively participate in the negotiations on new rules such as digital economy and environment, improve the comprehensive utilization level of the free trade area, and better release the policy dividends of the signed free trade areas. The third is to increase the capacity building of backward countries to help them deeply participate in global and regional value chains. Supplemented by the “early harvest” one-way non-reciprocal market opening, it helps backward countries better participate in regional value chains and promotes the building of a community of shared future.
The economic construction of the Eurasian Silk Road has achieved remarkable results
Moderator: What role has the construction of the Eurasian Silk Road Economic Belt played in promoting regional cooperation and economic development?
Xu Poling (Deputy Director of the “Belt and Road” Research Center of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Director of the Russian Economic Research Office of the Russian Institute of Eastern Europe and Central Asia): The Silk Road Economic Belt is promoting economic cooperation in the Eurasian region and driving the cooperation between Eurasian countries and China. It has played a significant role in development and has become a link for economic cooperation and common development in the Eurasian region.
The infrastructure of the road and pipeline network sets up a transport and logistics link for trade and industrial cooperation in Eurasia. Historically, the Silk Road Economic Belt was first and foremost a major artery for the exchange and trade of goods and goods between the East and the West. The Silk Road Economic Belt in the new era has replaced the camels and post stations of the past with railways, highways, oil and gas pipelines, and communication lines. With faster, stronger and more convenient transportation capabilities, it can drive consumer goods in the vast area between China and Europe. , spare parts, industrial raw materials and energy and other commodity goods circulation. The railway arteries, road transportation lines, and oil and gas pipelines that cross the Eurasian continent connect the logistics network and develop rapidly. Taking the China-Europe train as an example, as of January 2022, it has reached more than 180 cities in 23 countries, and has operated more than 50,000 China-Europe trains, transporting more than 4.55 million TEUs of goods with a value of US$240 billion. From 2016 to 2021, the annual number of China-Europe freight trains will increase from 1,702 to 15,183, with an average annual growth rate of 55%; the categories of transported goods have expanded to more than 50,000 types of auto parts and vehicles, chemicals, electromechanical, and grain; annual transportation The value of goods increased from 8 billion US dollars to 74.9 billion US dollars, and its proportion in the total trade volume between China and Europe increased from 1.5% to 8%.
During the fight against the new crown pneumonia epidemic, the China Railway Express has become a “passage of life” on the Eurasian continent. Since the “Belt and Road” initiative was put forward, the main mode of transportation on the land Silk Road has been China-Europe trains. According to the data of China National Railway Group, in 2021, China-Europe trains will issue more than 15,000 trains and send 1.46 million TEUs, a year-on-year increase of 22%, including important epidemic prevention aids and donations such as vaccines, masks, and medical equipment. In order to increase the transportation volume and improve the efficiency, on the basis of consolidating the existing main channels, the China Railway Express has cooperated with relevant countries to open up new channels across the Caspian Sea, the Baltic Sea, and through Ukraine, Finland and other countries, and promote the formation of “smooth and efficient, multi-directional extension. The overseas channel network pattern of China-Europe freight trains has been established, and a total of 13.62 million pieces of anti-epidemic materials have been delivered to Germany, Poland, Belgium and other European countries. The China Railway Express is not only the core link of the Silk Road Economic Belt, but also has made important contributions to the economic development and fight against the epidemic in countries along the “Belt and Road”.
Industrial parks and industrial investment have become the industrial chain and supply chain cooperation link on the Silk Road Economic Belt. In the process of infrastructure construction and connectivity, my country has cooperated with countries along the route and invested in the construction of various types of industrial parks, aiming to explore and promote cooperation in related industries and enhance technological level and international competitiveness. For example, the China-Thailand New Silk Road Tajikistan Agricultural and Textile Industrial Park, relying on the advantages of China and Tajikistan to build a modern cotton industry base, drives the development of the local cotton planting and textile industry. This is a complete textile industry chain project from cotton planting to seed cotton processing, spinning, weaving, printing and dyeing and garment processing. Zhongtai (Hatlong) New Silk Road Agricultural Industry Co., Ltd. under the industrial park is responsible for 250,000 mu of cotton planting , Zhongtai (Dangara) New Silk Road Textile Industry Co., Ltd. is responsible for textile production. From the start of production in 2014 to the full operation in 2019, a total of 24,321 tons of yarn were produced and 22,207 tons of yarn were sold. The operating income was about 65.91 million US dollars, and the tax was about 4.48 million US dollars. . Since 2020, the industrial park has gradually become a local pillar industry, which has played an important role in stabilizing the economy of the host country. Similar to the Pengsheng Industrial Park in Uzbekistan and the China-Belarus Industrial Park in Belarus, these industrial parks have played an exemplary role in promoting the economic opening and industrial development of the host country.
The Silk Road Economic Belt has become a link between my country and countries along the route for policy communication, development strategy alignment and regional economic and trade cooperation. With the rapid development of my country’s economy, countries along the Silk Road Economic Belt have entered the Chinese market, and even the domestic industrial layout is linked to the trend of the Silk Road Economic Belt, which has become an important consideration for the industrial layout and economic development of the countries along the route. For example, in Russia’s medium and long-term development plan on national projects and industrial layout in 2019, the industrial manufacturing and agricultural development projects of the most important 8 federal subjects are located along the railway and highway network connecting Europe and Asia. The construction of the corridor perfectly coincides with the construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt proposed by my country. At the same time, the construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt has greatly accelerated the development of economic and trade cooperation in the Eurasian region. Including the regional economic integration cooperation in Central Asia, the cooperation between the construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the construction of the Eurasian Economic Union, the China-Georgia Free Trade Agreement, and the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, all of which are the infrastructure construction and industries of the Silk Road Economic Belt. Investment cooperation drives facilitated results.
The achievements made in the construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt are mainly based on: large-scale projects and long-term investment provide valuable infrastructure and public goods for regional economic cooperation for regional economic development; bring huge markets, large-scale investment and public goods to the countries along the route. Advanced technology; good communication and cooperation with the host country government to achieve mutual benefit and win-win results. However, during the construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt, the problems of social poverty and income inequality in Eurasia are still prominent, and there is still a digital divide in the new industrial revolution in Eurasia. These factors hinder the expansion of the regional market and the common development of the regional economy. The construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt requires more social support from the host country in terms of private investment, social project investment, and regional common prosperity and development, so as to achieve the goal of win-win cooperation and coordinated development. (Source of this article: Economic Daily)