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Belt and Road driving growth, connectivity

2019-02-20 13:08:28 China Daily

Trade boost, infrastructure improvements in ries involved in initiative show global influence, experts say.

Trade boost, infrastructure improvements in countries involved in initiative show global influence, experts say

The Belt and Road Initiative is expected to strengthen connectivity, boost economies and raise people's living standards in countries and regions that are involved in the initiative, analysts from different countries said.

The initiative, proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013, aims to build stronger links among nations across the globe.

Fabienne Bossuyt, assistant professor at Ghent University in Belgium, said the influence of the initiative will be clear in the realm of connectivity in Central Asia and Europe, especially in the Balkans and in central and eastern parts of Europe.

In Central Asia, the BRI's influence also is strong in local transportation infrastructure. For one, China is investing in the improvement of local roads, which is having direct economic effects and helping to increase living standards, she said.

In his new book The New Silk Roads: The Present and Future of the World, Oxford University historian Peter Frankopan said China has taken many steps in preparation for a more open view of the world. It has invested in many infrastructure projects, despite criticism that some haven't yet performed well financially.

"These projects, for the large part, do have the capability to raise living standards, to boost economies, to do the kinds of things that large-scale international development does," he said.

Global trade credit insurance company Euler Hermes said in a recent research report that trade in merchandise between China and other countries involved in the initiative will add $117 billion to global trade and contribute 0.3 percentage point to global trade growth this year. It would also add 0.1 percentage point to global GDP, it said.

The report said China's exports to BRI partners may increase by $56 billion in 2019, with top export destinations including South Korea, members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Russia.

BRI countries' exports to China are set to grow by $61 billion this year, driven by stronger trade integration with China, and South Korea is looking like a primary beneficiary, it said.