The Ministry of Commerce will accelerate the implementation of opening-up measures that President Xi Jinping pledged at the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2018 and seek enhanced co-operation with Belt and Road economies and international organisations, a top official said on Thursday.
Vice-Minister of Commerce Qian Keming made the remarks at the Belt & Road Trade and Investment Forum in Beijing, echoing President Xi’s promise on Tuesday about advancing the building of a community with a shared future for humankind.
China will ramp up efforts to develop e-commerce in countries and regions participating in the Belt and Road Initiative, and help related economies integrate into globalisation, Qian said.
China will also boost regional economic co-operation and promote free trade areas, Qian said.
“We will set up high-standard FTAs with countries and regions that have the willingness to do so,” Qian added.
Between 2013 and 2017, trade between China and Belt and Road economies totaled more than $5 trillion, and outbound direct investment exceeded $70 billion, according to the ministry.
To further promote the initiative, China and the International Monetary Fund launched the China-IMF Capacity Development Centre in Beijing on Thursday.
The centre will offer training courses for Belt and Road economies including China, according to a statement from the People’s Bank of China.
“The Belt and Road Initiative can serve as a powerful platform for economic growth and regional co-operation, involving more than 4 billion people living in Asia, Europe and Africa,” said United Nations Resident Co-ordinator Nicholas Rosellini.
“Inclusiveness and win-win outcomes, at the core of the initiative, have to be proactively integrated in the BRI outcomes,” he said at the 2018 High-Level Policy Forum on Global Governance in Guangzhou.
“The initiative will aim not only to contribute to the achievement of the goals of participating economies in the areas of basic infrastructure, regional development, connectivity and industrialisation, but also extend and upgrade the initiative to explicitly aim for a sustainable transformation of the economies along the initiative with poverty reduction, environmental sustainability and inclusive social development at its core, key elements for the success of the initiative in the long-term.”
He also noted that there are common barriers to achieving the aims of the BRI, such as a lack of understanding of the investing countries’ priorities, policies and regulations, communication barriers due to the cultural differences, and barriers due to environmental and social concerns.