On the eve of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, the Centre for China and Globalization (CCG) released a new report that proposes 20 paths to realize the win-win cooperation between China and other countries along the belt and road.
The report, titled “Paths to Win-win Cooperation along the B&R: A Proposal to Enlist Global Partners,” was released by CCG’s “Belt and Road” Institute on May 10 at the CCG Beijing headquarters. The report reviews the background of the initiative and points out its significant role in pushing forward new model of globalization in the time of setback. Based on the analysis of the opportunities and challenges facing the B&R, the report provides 20 recommendations on how to make it a win-win deal that can benefit all the participating countries.
The report came as the world awaits the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation on May 14-15, as one of the highest-level international conferences to watch this year. The recent years have witnessed the rise of de-globalization momentum. Some observers even lamented that it signals the end of the era of globalization. At the 11th G20 Summit in Hangzhou last September, China made the development issue top the agenda. In January, Chinese President Xi pledged during his keynote speech in the UN Office in Geneva that China is committed to forging a new partnership of win-win cooperation and creating a community of shared future for mankind. The report believes that more and more countries have been inspired to seek closer international cooperation and regional integration, signalling the beginning of the new model of globalization, in which “the Belt and Road” initiative can be one of the key solutions.
According to the report, the B&R initiative is essentially evolved from many similar international solutions and gradually gained global consensus. The countries along the belt and road are facing various development barriers in the areas such as infrastructure, labour, resources, and political system. B&R will bring them new opportunities to develop the international industrial capacity, especially through improving infrastructure, energy and trade, to meet the key requirement in transportation, telecommunication and energy supply of economic development. B&R can also help them accelerate industrial transformation, leveraging their own strength. In addition, B&R presents new opportunities to innovate regional integration and unleash more potential in those countries.
In the meantime, the report highlights the importance to address the risks and challenges for B&R. First and foremost, B&R covers the regions with most complicated geopolitical situation. The countries along the belt and road are all unique in terms of political system, region and ethnic composition. Some of the countries have no established governance system, making it difficult for foreign investors to have secured return of profit. They may have to face high legal and operational cost due to the limited understanding of local legal environment. The cultural differences and barriers in communications post another challenge. Most countries along the belt and road have multiple ethnics and religions coexist. The lack of effective communications and outreach efforts may lead to nationalism sentiment against China and the initiative.
Based on the long-term research on globalization strategies, CCG scholars raised 20 suggestions on how to promote international cooperation through B&R.
- Building B&R international community and international governance mechanism
- Establishing B&R standing committee and setting up annual conference system with rotating chairmanship
- Forming a UN agency for B&R to strengthen the coordination with existing UN organizations
- Enhancing cooperation with the international organizations such as WTO, World Bank and IMF
- Inviting more developed countries including the United States, EU member states, Japan and Republic of Korea to join the initiative
- Forging partnership with key countries along the belt and road
- Establishing B&R international alliance of enterprises
- Organizing B&R Summit for the World top 500 MNCs
- Implementing B&R demonstration projects in selected countries
- Pushing forward B&R green development
- Enhancing overseas industrial parks’ role in B&R
- Leveraging overseas Chinese community to achieve win-win cooperation through B&R
- Promoting tourism to become a leading role in the B&R international cooperation
- Strengthening educational exchange and cooperation along the belt and road to cultivate more talent
- Facilitating people mobility along the belt and road and encouraging migration to the countries involved
- Developing B&R cross-border e-commerce to build a “digital Silk Road”
- Pooling international financial resource to invest in B&R
- Establishing a unified dispute resolution mechanism to strengthen legal protection along the belt and road
- Leveraging international professional organizations such as those for accountants and engineers
- Attaching more attention to the role of think tanks, NGOs and other civil society organizations in promoting B&R
CCG President and one of the report authors Wang Huiyao noted that the key to the successful implementation of the B&R initiative is the international participation, particularly by developed countries. The first B&R Forum for International Cooperation will create a peaceful, inclusive and relatively loosened international economic cooperation platform for B&R, which makes it easier for the policy coordination and mechanism building on the government level.
CCG senior research fellow Ke Yinbin pointed out three phases for China to move forward B&R – advocacy and communications; design and implementation; and evaluation and improvement. This new report proposes suggestions targeting at the second phase. Regarding the outcome of the first phase, he pointed out that more response came from governments and some international organizations, while many more organizations including business and financial groups have not yet reacted to it. Therefore, the report also proposes some measures to gain more support from international organizations and MNCs, in order to tap the potential of international capital market.
Speaking from his personal experience of conducting research in the countries along the belt and road, CCG “the Belt and Road ” Institute Director Huang Rihan believes the report reflects the reality and therefore gives very practical advice. He also emphasized the importance to enhance people-to-people exchange and, accordingly, cultivate linguistic, legal and financial talent to achieve the B&R goal.