Economic ties between China and BRI countries still strong despite COVID-19 pandemic: report
The current COVID-19 pandemic has brought many nations into economic recession, but the economic cooperation and trade volume between China and BRI countries remain positive and show promise for the future, according to a report on the BRI economic landscape released Monday.
The China-assisted Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway project in Indonesia has been making steady progress this year. While implementing strict safety measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Chinese enterprises have also managed to guarantee the construction and operation of overseas projects under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative. (Photo/People's Daily Online)
The report, published by the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation under China’s Ministry of Commerce, noted that the BRI entered its eighth year in 2020, with this year’s priorities being to overcome global development challenges such as poverty alleviation, job creation and improvement in livelihoods, as well as injecting new momentum into a global economy devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the report, despite the global economic recession and pandemic situation, as of May 2020, China had signed 200 BRI cooperation agreements in the fields of connectivity, investment, trade, finance, science and technology, society, culture, livelihood, and marine affairs with 138 countries and 30 international organizations.
Such close international cooperation has benefited China’s economic growth. In 2019, China’s total trade in goods with 138 countries that signed the BRI cooperation documents reached $1.9 trillion, accounting for 41.5% of China’s total trade in goods.
BRI nations have also seen large incomes through their BRI networks. By the end of 2019, the overseas cooperation zones between China and foreign nations had made $41.9 billion in investments and attracted thousands of enterprises. Of particular note, the cooperation zones involving BRI countries had made a total investment of $35 billion, paid more than $3 billion in taxes to the host countries and created 330,000 local jobs.
Meanwhile, the BRI network continues to expand. The report added that China had signed 17 free trade agreements (FTAs) with 25 countries and regions, and was conducting 12 FTA negotiations including those for upgrading FTAs, as well as 10 joint feasibility studies on FTAs or upgrading FTAs by the end of 2019.