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Forum will promote infrastructure improvements

Updated: May 11,2017 6:57 AM     China Daily

The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation will promote ties through a platform of change and improvement, with more than 50 documents on infrastructure construction expected to be signed, officials with the nation’s top economic regulator said on May 10.

“We do not want to turn the forum into a performance put on only by China. That is not our goal,” said Ou Xiaoli, counsel of the Department of Western Region Development at the National Development and Reform Commission.

“Instead, China hopes to build a platform to enhance cooperation and address global problems,” he said.

“We welcome everyone to participate,” he added.

The forum will be held on May 14-15 in Beijing, where more than 1,500 leaders and experts are expected to participate, according to an agenda released by the commission.

By the end of 2016, more than 100 countries and regions had expressed a willingness to support the Belt and Road Initiative, which comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

China has so far signed 46 cooperation agreements with 39 countries and regions to implement the initiative, according to the commission.

Ou said that discussions during the forum will focus on eight major areas: infrastructure construction, industrial investment, economic and trade cooperation, energy resources, financial cooperation, cultural exchange, ecological environment and maritime cooperation.

More than 50 cooperative documents to support infrastructure construction are expected to reach agreement during the forum, according to Fei Zhirong, head of Basic Industry Department under the commission.

“Priority for infrastructure construction will be given to fixing bottlenecks and missing links in the transportation network along the Belt and Road countries,” he said.

The forum will help infrastructure projects overseas accelerate because it will provide financial institutions with opportunities to offer co-financing, said Jin Qi, chairwoman of the Silk Road Fund, established in 2014 to focus on long-term investments in initiative-related projects.

Humaid Kanji, an environmental economist in the United Arab Emirates, said more convenient transportation across continents will improve efficiency of large-scale regional economic and trade cooperation.

Kanji said building infrastructure projects is not a way for China to export excess capacity, because there is a huge gap in infrastructure construction that cannot be filled in the short term.

“A more efficient and green transportation system will enhance regional connectivity and help resolve other key issues that the international community is grappling with, such as climate change,” he said.

“Many countries touched by the initiative share similar ideas on tackling climate change. We hope to make good use of the initiative to enhance climate policy coordination with China and other countries along the initiative.”