Belt and Road Initiative – a Canadian perspective

China’s Belt and Initiative (BRI) Initiative is an advanced plan with an emphasis on linking Eurasian countries through a land-based road as well as a maritime route. The ‘belt’ is the Silk Road Economic Belt and contains the new growth of railroads and highways. The ‘road’ states the plan to build new ports along maritime routes and the Maritime Silk Road.

Chinese President Xi Jinping launched the initiative in September 2013 with continuation of opening-up policy under stage 3. The world is undergoing intricate and profound deviations. The global economy is improving gradually and global development is patchy. Many countries are experiencing big challenges in pursuing development. All this makes it imperious for countries to work together and improve collaboration on a bigger scale with higher standards and in greater depth.

In September 2013, when President Xi visited Southeast Asia and Central Asia, he projected an initiative of jointly building a Silk Road Economic Belt and a Maritime Silk Road. The initiative is molded to sustain the global free trade regime and the open world economy, reinforce co-operation among countries along the Belt and Road, and uphold common development and growth.

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a unique type of co-operation mechanism. China will track the doctrines of openness, collaboration, synchronization, extensiveness, joint benefit and win-win collaboration. The progress programs under the initiative outline are not limited, but are open to all interested countries or parties, be it from areas along the path or from other parts of the world. All countries can contribute in the initiative willingly, contributing to and profiting from the development of the Belt and Road.

Among Canadians especially the investors, economists and even the layman with a keen interest in business and trade, there is a general perception that as China and Canada are Pacific neighbors, the Belt and Road Initiative means a lot of chances for Canada as well. In assessment of the economic growth that has been fostered in China-Canada cooperation in all fields over the years. Canada can generate its advantages in resources and technology to strengthen cooperation with Asian countries in specific areas such as industrial investment, infrastructure development, energy resources, financing, human resources, the green economy and advanced manufacturing.

In the meantime, China and Canada could cooperatively discover methods and means to outspread the Belt and Road to North America. The two countries should work together to form a China-Canada maritime energy corridor and encourage interaction between each other’s development strategies, jointly contributing to economic success in the Asia Pacific.

Discussions are now ongoing between the government of China’s Guangdong province and the government of Canada’s British Columbia on how to encourage the maritime and economic connectivity between the two provinces and pursue collaboration between China’s Belt and Road Initiative and Canada’s Pacific Gateway Strategy. This is a preliminary step toward a pilot application of the Belt and Road Initiative at the level of the provincial governments. Hopefully the two provinces’ efforts will harvest productive and constructive results.

There is a famous Chinese saying “Spring does not arrive with the blossoming of a single flower. Only when one hundred flowers blossom, spring permeates the orchard.”

While chasing growth and development, China is always optimistic that its progress will advantage the rest of the world. It is in the same spirit that China has launched the Belt and Road Initiative. I strongly believe that the implementation of the initiative will bring about a new landscape of mutual development and prosperity for this region and the world because it’s all about providing a better future to the next generation.

Editor: 董平