China’s President Xi Jinping has vowed to ensure transparency and the fiscal stability of all Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects at the second day of the 2nd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing.
During his speech, Xi, said the aim of the BRI, which is also known as the New Silk Road, was to expand “connectivity and practical cooperation” and refuted criticisms that it is a bid for geopolitical influence.
The BRI is the largest infrastructure investment programme in history and is reported to cost approximately US$1 trillion.
It involves the building and expansion of ports and container terminals around the world and the laying of freight railways across Eurasia.
The movement to integrate the BRI with the west took a huge step on March 25, 2019, when Italy became the first EU country to officially endorse it.
“Everything should be done in a transparent way and we should have zero tolerance for corruption,” the BBC quoted Xi as saying.
“We also need to ensure the commercial and fiscal sustainability of all projects so that they will achieve the intended goals as planned.”
Xi also used the speech to address the ongoing US-China trade war, which has been waging since early 2017.
Talks to cut hundreds of billions worth of tariffs between Beijing and Washington have been ongoing since December 2018 and initially raised hopes of a potential new trade deal between the world’s two biggest economies.
The US has accused China of stealing intellectual property and has claimed it uses subsidies to give its domestic firms an unfair advantage.
Xi said that China would accelerate efforts to better protect intellectual property and increase the imports of goods and services in a bid to encourage enterprise.
“We will overhaul and abolish unjustified regulations, subsidies and practices that impede fair competition and distort the market.
“We hope that other countries will also create an enabling environment of investment, treat Chinese enterprises, students and scholars as equals, and provide a fair and friendly environment for them to engage in normal international exchanges and cooperation.”