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Policy Coordination along the Belt and Road
Text by Xu Wenhong

 

April 17, 2017: The “Great Stone” industrial park under construction. This project is the largest overseas industrial park in which Chinese enterprises are participating in construction. It is also a landmark cooperative project between China and Belarus as part of the Silk Road Economic Belt.  Xinhua

Although the global economic and financial crisis of 2007 to 2009 has long gone, the global economy is still recovering slowly. Factors including the sluggish markets of the United States and Japan, the unresolved European debt crisis, the refugee crisis and Brexit have all fueled instability. The growth of BRICS countries has slowed down, while trade protectionism and isolationism are on the rise. International investment and multilateral trade and investment rules are ready for drastic changes.

The Belt and Road Initiative was proposed amid complex circumstances. In some ways, the Initiative is based on the wisdom and developmental philosophy of the East, and China’s successful experience during 40 years of reform and opening up. China is offering solutions to jumpstart economic growth. New ideas and concepts have been introduced in this economic cooperation initiative offered by China. The Belt and Road Initiative requires countries to work side-by-side on policy coordination, infrastructure connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and people-to-people communication. Based on the principles of “extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits”, China is eyeing a community of shared interests, responsibilities and future.

Per previous experience, technical problems are more easily solved through economic cooperation between countries. Real challenges lie in concept and policy coordination. The scars of colonial exploitation and imperialist aggression remain fresh for many in developing countries, causing some to express concerns about strengthening economic and trade cooperation between various nations. Every country has its unique perspective and ideas about a future direction, based on its gains and losses during the process of globalization. People from some countries do not understand the Belt and Road Initiative, and some leaders even question its feasibility. A few have noted that domestic political disorder hurt the progress of construction of the Port of Colombo in Sri Lanka, but the project was also marred by insufficient policy coordination.

 

 

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