Trade in the past five years between China and countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has been worth $5 trillion, according to global accountancy firm Ernst and Young (EY).
This has been largely attributed to investment from Chinese state-run banks and financial institutions, which the report says, amounted to more than US$200 billion since the BRI was launched in 2013.
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‘Shared growth and collaboration over the five-years on the Belt and Road: is China building a better world?’ states that by August 2018, China had established 82 overseas economic and trade zones along the BRI, at a cost of approximately $28.9 billion since the BRI was launched in 2013.
These include 118 cooperation documents with 103 countries and international organisations, as well as 130 bilateral and regional transport agreements in the areas of shipping, railway, highway, aviation and postal services.
An official BRI data report from China’s State Information Centre on September 24 stated that trade between countries participating in the BRI had risen by 13.4% year-on-year.
EY’s report states: “Since the BRI was implemented, China has expanded open markets, improved trade facilitation and endeavoured to eliminate trade barriers and promote open economy.
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“Trade transformation and customs clearance integration are priority tasks in recent years. Under the BRI, China has deepened trade partnership with relevant countries and boosted production capacity cooperation through a network of overseas economic and trade zones and free-trade areas to accelerate industrial upgrading and industrialization in relevant countries.”
The BRI is the biggest infrastructure project in history and China expects it to cost approximately $900 billion.
Its goal is to overhaul and revitalise trade from Southeast Asia, through the Sub-continent, Africa and Europe.