China’s One Belt One Road

China’s One Belt One Road

Olaf Merk, Administrator, Ports and Shipping, International Transport Forum (ITF) at the OECD

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China has proposed a new silk route, commonly referred to as ‘One Belt One Road’ (OBOR). What does it mean, what are its consequences and what does it mean for the European ports system? This article will provide some answers to these questions. It will also provide some recommendations for European policy-makers.

The acronym hides a mysterious conceptual subtlety that intellectuals and policy-makers have only started to grapple with. What is OBOR: a strategy, an initiative, a proposal? What does it want: harmony, hegemony, mutual benefits? And what will it mean for the world: opportunity, challenge or something else? In my view, OBOR is unique in two ways: it will bring more choice and more Chinese control of global supply chains. It will have important consequences for the whole world, including for Europe and it requires critical policy choices...

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