US participation in Belt and Road Initiative welcomed

By Zhao Huanxin in Washington | China Daily USA | Updated: 2017-05-11 11:01

The US is "close to deciding" about sending a representative to the Belt and Road summit next week in China, according to a minister at the Chinese embassy in Washington.

Minister Li Kexin did not reveal the name or title of the potential US participant, but said it was "encouraging" news.

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

US participation in Belt and Road Initiative welcomed

The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, will be held in Beijing on Sunday and Monday.

"The main focus of the initiative is on the further connectivity, and it is open and inclusive," Li told a roundtable discussion at the embassy on Tuesday. "It is opening up great opportunities for other countries, including the US, and we welcome all parties to be a part of this."

Li noted that globalization and regional integration is also driving China to promote the BRI.

Anti-globalization sentiment is on the rise in the US and in some European regions.

"I don't think this is a good trend here in this country, because American companies complain about the investment environment in China, but vice-versa is that Chinese companies do face more and more serious problems here," Li said.

Tian Deyou, economic and commercial minister-counselor of the embassy, also said that the BRI is a huge project with major opportunities that go beyond a single country.

Citing World Bank statistics, Tian said that over the past 70 years, for every dollar spent on infrastructure projects in developing countries, 40 cents are used to buy equipment and services from developed countries.

"So in this way I can understand that Americans want to do something with this project," Tian said, noting that when the BRI was first raised, there had been skepticism among think tanks and American companies.

"They are changing their attitude and wanting to be aggressive about joining this project," Tian said, adding that American businesses can play a role in banking, financial support, consulting, construction, infrastructure engineering and manufacturing.

Cooperation is on the rise between Chinese enterprises and American enterprises in implementing projects in a third country, not in China or the US, but in Africa, for example.

"I think there are many examples, so I am sure in the future there will be more examples for the cooperation of the enterprises of the two countries through the initiative," said Li Bin, economic consul at the'embassy.

Sourabh Gupta, a senior specialist with the Institute for China-America Studies, said the BRI should be understood in terms of existing great and rising major powers, and how countries can create an international system that is inclusive and in which all participants can frame the rules.

"This is not overcoming a new order, but it is adding more content to a new order and more ideas to the new order, and especially in the area of development," he said.

(China Daily USA 05/11/2017 page1)

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