The Fifth Silk Road International Exposition opened Tuesday in Xi’an, capital of northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, with deeper Belt and Road economic cooperation one of the hot topics on agenda.
Themed “Interconnection, Contribution and Shared Benefits,” the expo has attracted more than 1,900 envoys and guests from 98 countries and regions such as Belgium, the Republic of Korea, Tajikistan and Zambia.
Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen said the total trade volume between China and the Belt and Road countries amounted to $9.2 trillion from 2013 to 2020, and combined investment by Chinese enterprises in these countries had reached $136 billion.
“Faced with the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19, trade between China and countries along the Belt and Road showed resilience and vitality, totaling $1.36 trillion in 2020, up 1 per cent year on year,” Wang said.
Since 2013, China has signed cooperation agreements with a total of 140 countries and 31 international organizations under the BRI, said Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in a video address to the expo.
Participants at the expo said that with the Covid-19 pandemic still raging across the globe, the enthusiasm of the international community in jointly promoting high-quality B&R cooperation is tantamount to a resounding vote of confidence in the program.
“It reflects the great and growing interest of countries in achieving the goals of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and re-establishing the links of the ancient Silk Road,” said Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov.
The Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by China in 2013, aims to build trade and infrastructure networks connecting Asia with Europe and beyond along the ancient Silk Road trade routes for common development and prosperity.
Since the BRI was proposed in 2013, China has carried out development cooperation and contributed to policy, infrastructure, trade, financial and people-to-people connectivity based on the needs of individual countries, creating space and opportunities to promote high-quality B&R cooperation.