Business and government leaders to discuss progress on China’s Belt and Road

Business and government leaders to discuss progress on China’s Belt and Road

The BRI aims to reconnect ancient land and 21st-century sea trade routes throughout Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Asia, coastal Indo-Pacific regions and the Arctic.

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Photo: Getty

Seventy government and business leaders will today arrive to discuss China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI) at the project’s third summit in Hong Kong. The main takeaway from the summit will be understanding the feasibility of the initiative in regards to funding and geopolitical competition from India.

The BRI aims to reconnect ancient land and 21st century sea trade routes throughout Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Asia, coastal Indo-Pacific regions and even the Arctic. Despite 65 countries’ involvement in the $4-6 trillion initiative, funding remains a prominent issue. China has promised $1 trillion through loans to One Belt One Road States, but these loans are cheap and are provided to states incapable of paying them. Countries including Pakistan, Laos and Mongolia are thus at risk of being in serious debt.

China has a history of providing low interest—or “concessional”—loans, particularly to states unable to repay them. This is widespread throughout the Pacific Islands and also in Sri Lanka. If the BRI is to reap the benefits it is expected to by opening up global trade—without causing crisis in poorer states— today’s summit will play a crucial role in exploring independent investment and the feasibility of the project overall.

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