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.
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.
In late February 2018, this program was further advanced with the creation of a Digital Belt and Road International Center of Excellence in Thailand. This center is the result of cooperation between the National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
In 2018, Xinjiang Autonomous Region will invest 450 billion RMB in infrastructure.
Investment projects will focus mainly on the expansion of Urumqi Airport, and the province’s rail and road networks.
These new investments reflect China’s desire to make Xinjiang an important hub to Central Asia and Pakistan.
Australia, the United States, India and Japan are reportedly discussing the formation of a competing project for China’s Belt and Road initiative. The best option for the EU is to join China’s Belt and Road Initiative to better protect its interests.
Since 2009, China has become Malaysia’s largest trading partner. Under Xi Jinping’s presidency, Chinese investment in Malaysia has seen strong growth. While most investments have been concentrated in the infrastructure, transportation and real estate sectors, new, more diversified investments are expected.
From 19 to 22 January 2018, the China-CELAC Forum took place in Santiago de Chile. Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi encouraged Latin American and Caribbean states to expand their trade with China.
The Belgian port of Zeebrugge is expected to become a new hub of the Belt and Road initiative. Zeebrugge, the port of Bruges, is the second largest container port in Belgium after Antwerp, and the sixth in the Channel-North Sea region (2016). It is also the leading European port for car transportation.
Hans Dietmar Schweisgut, the European Union’s ambassador to China, announced on January 10 that the European Union was working on a connection project between Europe and Asia that could be linked to China’s Belt and Road initiative.
On January 12, 2018, a new fiber optic network connecting Nepal to China was inaugurated in Kathmandu. Until then, Nepal was entirely dependent on India for its access to internet. Another cable had already been launched by China in December