IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde noted the achievements of the BRI at a conference in Beijing on April 12, and praised this project, as IMF fights against protectionism, a threat to global trade.
In early April, two European heads of state spoke about the BRI. When visiting China, top leaders from Austria and the Netherlands expressed their willingness to develop relations with Beijing and showed interests in the BRI.
After Tunisia and Morocco, Algeria may also join China’s “Belt and Road Initiative”. On March 3, 2018, for the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, the Chinese ambassador to Algiers, Yuang Guangyu, announced a future agreement that would formalize the participation of Algeria in the BRI.
Siemens, the German high tech giant has decided to join the BRI. In late March 2018, Siemens opened a special office dedicated to the “Belt and Road initiative” in Beijing.
From this office will be organized all BRI projects in which Siemens participates, whether in China or in the other states along the new Silk Road.
The city of Trieste in Italy aims to become a major maritime hub in Europe. On March 26, 2018, an article in “La Repubblica” called Trieste a possible terminus of the new Silk Road.
This port in the north-east of Italy is undergoing a profound transformation.
The port of Trieste could become an alternative to the port of Venice and act as an exchange platform.
The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) has authorized seven Chinese and foreign companies to issue “Belt and Road Initiative” bonds for a total of 50 billion RMB through Shanghai and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges.
European companies show strong willingness to participate in the BRI; it is now up to European governments to support this trend and promote trade between Europe and Asia.
On March 2, 2018, China Mobile inaugurated its new offices near Paris. It is the third Chinese phone company to enter the French market after China Telecom and China Unicom.
Two Asian airlines companies Air Astana (Kazakhstan) and Cathay Pacific (Hong Kong) will begin reciprocal codeshare partnership for several destinations from Central Asia to Australia.
The new Silk Roads are receiving more and more attention from European media. This project raises fears of Chinese hegemony, but everyone agrees that the BRI is also creating opportunities and development. Two British students have decided to make up their minds for themselves and take the road to explore this new line of communication between Europe and Asia.