The Belt and Road Initiative has brought new vitality to participating countries and drives economic globalization, a Chinese senior commerce official said Wednesday.[Special coverage]
The initiative comes at a time when economic woes continue and some countries are responding to economic imbalances with protectionism, Vice Commerce Minister Qian Keming told a press conference.
Many countries along the Belt and Road barely benefited from the last round of globalization, and the initiative will provide them with opportunities for economic development and integration, making the globalization process more inclusive and balanced, he said.
Qian said he sees huge potential in trade and investment among the Belt and Road countries as many of their resources and endowments are complementary.
"It is my firm belief that with vigorous economic growth, improved infrastructure connectivity and alignment between development plans, trade will grow rapidly," the vice minister said.
Proposed in 2013, the initiative, which envisions a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa, has borne rich fruit. More than 50 billion U.S. dollars of Chinese investment were made in countries along the Belt and Road.
China's trade with countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative reached about 20 trillion yuan (2.9 trillion U.S. dollars) during 2014-2016, according to Qian.
Opening-up and development is China's answer to structural imbalances in globalization, and the initiative will play a key role in fighting against protectionism and bring new impetus to globalization, he said.
Qian also dismissed concerns about the participation of foreign enterprises in the Belt and Road Initiative, saying that it is an open and inclusive program that allows both Chinese and foreign enterprises to compete and cooperate on the same platform.
Chinese enterprises which participated in the Belt and Road Initiative strictly follow the requirements of host countries, and many of their Belt and Road projects were carried out with the cooperation of foreign counterparts, according to another official with the Ministry of Commerce.
China will host the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing on May 14-15.