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High quality of BRI development requires a solution that can satisfy high standards and affordability: expert

2021-04-06 07:52:54 Belt and Road Portal

Seeking high-quality development of the BRI means finding the most suitable solutions that strike a balance between higher standards and affordability in nations along the BRI.

Seeking high-quality development of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) does not mean blindly pursuing the highest standards, but finding the most suitable solutions that strike a balance between higher standards and affordability in countries along the BRI routes, said an expert.

In the recently published outline of China’s 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025), the statement concerning the BRI was changed from the previous “move forward with the BRI” in the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) to “promote high-quality development of the BRI”.

“A high quality BRI project means one that has managed to satisfy the local people and the governments of both the host country and China, while also allowing the company to achieve its investment objectives through the project,” said Jiang Xiheng, vice-president of the Center for International Knowledge on Development (CIKD).

Since the BRI was proposed in 2013, the Chinese government has requested in its policy guidance that overseas BRI projects must meet the local standards of the host country and exceed them, Jiang told the Belt and Road Portal in a recent interview.

“If Chinese standards are higher than local ones, or if the host country does not have applicable standards, that is when Chinese standards are adopted and international standards are encouraged, which is common in jointly financed projects. Actually, more engineering standards of Chinese companies are becoming the highest in many fields, and environmental and social standards are improving quickly,” said Jiang.

Having high standards is one of the crucial principles of high-quality development of the BRI, while the pursuit of high-quality development has never been easy, asChinese companies lack experience of investing in many of the countries along the BRI routes, according to Jiang.

“Also, higher standards often come with higher costs, and when the cost is too high, many developing countries cannot afford it and this is why many international financial institutions could not find bankable projects,” Jiang said.

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