xi's moments
Home | Op-Ed Contributors

BRI a new source of growth for EU

By Liu Jianna | China Daily | Updated: 2019-03-21 08:07

Both sides must adopt pragmatic approach

Bai Ming, a senior research fellow at and deputy director of the Institute of International Market, Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation

European countries have been rather ambivalent when dealing with the Belt and Road Initiative. They hope to gain easier market access and acquire more capital by deepening relations with China but are reluctant to deepen cooperation with China because of ideological differences and the US' political influence on them.

Under such circumstances, Italy's open support to the BRI is indeed encouraging. In fact, more or less all European countries have benefited by cooperating with China.

The conditions for deeper cooperation between China and Europe, especially under the BRI framework, are favorable. First, the two sides have forged strong economic ties, with European enterprises such as Volkswagen, Carrefour and Total opening plants and branches in China and laying a solid foundation for collaboration under the BRI framework.

Second, the existing cooperation mechanism and infrastructure connectivity between the two sides, for instance, the China-EU Connectivity Platform and the China-Europe freight train network could further facilitate cooperation under the BRI framework.

And third, China and Europe have a history of settling their disputes through consultations and negotiations, as seen in the solar panel trade, which not only protects both parties' core interests and leads to win-win cooperation but also is conducive to collaboration under the Belt and Road Initiative framework.

Italy's move, hopefully, will prompt other European countries to stop adhering to the US' divisive policies and adopt a more pragmatic approach toward China for the sake of their own economic development and national interests.

Advanced nations welcome to raise BRI standards

Wang Yiwei, a professor of international relations at the Renmin University of China

That Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has vowed to bring the European Union's trade standards to the Belt and Road Initiative should be welcomed, as China, despite proposing the initiative, doesn't set all the standards for cooperation under the BRI framework.

Chinese leaders have repeatedly emphasized that the initiative is open and inclusive in nature, and that China welcomes all countries including the US, which strongly opposes the initiative, to participate in it and help raise it to a higher level.

The West has been criticizing the initiative's programs saying they follow low trade and environmental standards, and blaming China for all the problems, if there are any. But the fact is, China initiates the Belt and Road programs, but the standards for different programs are set after taking into consideration local laws, rules and conditions. Therefore, higher standards can be set only if all sides, especially the developed countries, participate in it.

In the future, small and medium-sized enterprises should be encouraged to play a more active role in Belt and Road projects and private capital introduced to boost the economic development of all the economies involved.

Some critics even claim that China is trying to divide Europe by establishing cooperation mechanisms with certain European countries, but such critics don't realize the simple fact that a divided Europe would cause more harm than good to the Chinese economy.

As a staunch supporter of multipolarization, China hopes to see a strong, unified Europe which will help build a more balanced world order. Therefore, it has made efforts to help accelerate the integration of Europe, by deepening its economic cooperation with European countries. After all, the integration of Europe cannot be realized unless all countries are economically strong enough.

Belt and Road open to all economies

Zhao Minghao, a senior fellow at the China Center for Contemporary World Studies

Several factors will push European countries to adopt a more open attitude toward the Belt and Road Initiative.

A growing appetite for investment in infrastructure, which the European Commission's Investment Plan for Europe (known also as the "Juncker Plan") could not satisfy, means European countries have to find new sources of investment. And since the BRI is known to bring visible benefits to the countries involved, it is more than likely that more European countries would join it.

As a matter of fact, countries along the China-Europe freight train route have largely gained through improved infrastructure interconnectivity.

Also, given their opposition to the US' unilateral and trade protectionist policies, European countries could better promote multilateralism and globalization by participating in the BRI. The US has made every effort, though unsuccessfully, to prevent other countries from joining China-proposed initiatives such as the BRI and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. But the US' efforts to prevent Italy from joining the Belt and Road Initiative will not only fail, but also harm its global competitiveness.

Let's hope Sino-Italian cooperation under the BRI framework will produce enough tangible results to prompt other European countries to resist the US' pressure and join the initiative.

|<< Previous 1 2   
Global Edition
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349