Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Belt and Road needs to reject protectionism: Xi Jinping

Belt and Road needs to reject protectionism: Xi Jinping

"President Xi Jinping also said that we should build the Belt and Road into a road for peace".

The countries agreed that "we stand for enhancing worldwide cooperation including the Belt and Road Initiative and various development strategies". "This is both a continuation of our shared legacy and a right choice for the future", he said. But he also expressed hope governments that participate will coordinate policy in areas from finance and law enforcement to technology and education.

"The Belt and Road initiative focuses on economic and trade issues, so it's very easy for countries to find and increase common interests".

In the first quarter of this year, Chinese companies have signed almost 1,000 new contracts for overseas projects as part of the Belt and Road initiative, creating $14.4 billion in total revenue, which is a 4.7 percent increase from a year earlier, according to NDRC.

The Indo-Japanese project, proposed during a meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe at their annual summit at Tokyo last November, is expected to see a soft launch later this month, say reports. China has defended globalisation at a time when the United States (US) is retreating into "America First" policies on trade and foreign relations under President Donald Trump.

They noted the challenges faced by the world economy and welcomed the initiative to improve connectivity between Asia and Europe, saying it was important to expanding trade and investment based on a level playing field.

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But Xi's Silk Road plan has raised concerns that he is seeking to expand China's economic and political ambitions overseas rather than open up his own country to further trade and investment.

"It's estimated that $1.7 trillion would be required for annual infrastructure investments on nations involved in OBOR, but the three [funding] institutions involved-the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the New Development Bank, and the Silk Road Fund-only have capital totaling $240 billion".

Earlier Monday, the Chinese leader appealed in a speech to the visiting foreign leaders to pursue "greater openness and cooperation" and to "reject protectionism".

Also Monday, the Philippine defense minister, who attended the Beijing meeting, said he signed a letter of intent with a Chinese military contractor to purchase weapons for Manila's army, navy and air force.

He stressed that the Belt and Road Initiative is aligned to Africa's vision for integration, industrialization and sustainable development, including the African Union Agenda 2063.

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