Belt & Road @ 10


Ras Al Khaimah Ruler His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi led the UAE delegation to the Belt and Road Forum….reports Asian Lite News

The United Arab Emirates is participating in celebrating the 10th anniversary of the launch of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), initiated by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, and the collective cooperation with more than 152 countries worldwide.

On behalf of UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ras Al Khaimah Ruler His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi leads the UAE delegation to the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, in Bejing, under the theme: ‘High Quality Belt and Road Cooperation: Together for Common Development and Prosperity’.

Sheikh Saud was accompanied by the UAE delegation participating in the Forum, including: Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, UAE Special Envoy for Climate Change; Sheikh Salem bin Khalid Al Qassimi, Minister of Culture and Youth; Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade; Dr. Ahmad bin Abdullah Humaid Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of Education; Hussain bin Ibrahim Al Hammadi, UAE Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, and several other officials.

The Forum, marking the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), with the participation of more than 130 countries and several international organizations, will discuss a range of topics, including connectivity, green development and digital economy, alongside forums on trade connectivity, intercultural exchange, think tanks, and transnational, subnational and maritime cooperation.

The UAE has invested $10 billion in a joint China-UAE investment fund to support BRI projects in East Africa. In 2018, the UAE signed 13 memorandums of understanding with China to invest in multiple sectors in the UAE. The UAE is also a founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

The UAE’s trade with countries in Asia, Africa, and Europe reached around $560 billion in 2022, accounting for 90% of the UAE’s non-oil trade. China, India, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Turkiye, Japan, Oman, Kuwait, and Hong Kong are among the UAE’s top 10 trading partners. The UAE’s non-oil trade with these countries grew by 20% in 2022 compared to 2021.

Data from the first half of 2023 shows that the value of the UAE’s non-oil trade with countries participating in the BRI reached $305 billion, accounting for 90% of the UAE’s non-oil trade during that period. The trade grew by more than 13% compared to the first half of 2022.

Moreover, a remarkable 88% of the UAE’s imports originate from countries actively involved in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), while 94% of the UAE’s non-oil exports are destined for these nations, and 92% of its re-exports are directed to them. These statistics constitute a vital underpinning for the successful implementation of the BRI in collaboration with all the countries contributing to the reinvigoration of trade among the regions, spanning Asia, Africa, and Europe.

Xi’s Steps For High-Quality BRI

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday announced eight major steps China will take to support high-quality Belt and Road cooperation.

First, China will build a multidimensional Belt and Road connectivity network, Xi said in a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF).

“We will vigorously integrate ports, shipping and trading services under the ‘Silk Road Maritime,’ and accelerate the building of the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor and the Air Silk Road,” he said.

Second, China will support an open world economy, with its total trade in goods and services expected to exceed 32 trillion U.S. dollars and 5 trillion U.S. dollars respectively in the 2024-2028 period, Xi said.

He said the country will establish pilot zones for Silk Road e-commerce cooperation, and enter into free trade agreements and investment protection treaties with more countries.

The country will remove all restrictions on foreign investment access in the manufacturing sector, he said.

Third, China will carry out practical cooperation for the BRI. The country will promote both signature projects and “small yet smart” livelihood programs, the president said.

He vowed more financing support for BRI projects on the basis of market and business operation, noting that the China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China will each set up a 350 billion yuan (48.75 billion U.S. dollars) financing window, and that an additional 80 billion yuan will be injected into the Silk Road Fund.

Fourth, China will continue to promote green development. The country will further deepen cooperation in areas such as green infrastructure, green energy and green transportation, and step up support for the BRI International Green Development Coalition.

Xi said China will implement the Green Investment Principles for the Belt and Road, and provide 100,000 training opportunities for partner countries by 2030.

Fifth, China will continue to advance scientific and technological innovation. China will continue to implement the Belt and Road Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation Action Plan, and hold the first Belt and Road Conference on Science and Technology Exchange, noted Xi.

Sixth, China will support people-to-people exchanges. China will host the Liangzhu Forum to enhance dialogue on civilizations with BRI partner countries, the president said.

Seventh, China will promote integrity-based Belt and Road cooperation.

Together with its cooperation partners, China will release the Achievements and Prospects of Belt and Road Integrity Building and the High-Level Principles on Belt and Road Integrity Building, and establish the Integrity and Compliance Evaluation System for Companies Involved in Belt and Road Cooperation, Xi announced.

Eighth, China will strengthen the institutional building for international Belt and Road cooperation.

China will work with its BRI partner countries to strengthen the building of multilateral cooperation platforms covering energy, taxation, finance, green development, disaster reduction, anti-corruption, think tank, media, culture and other fields, Xi said.

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