One Belt and One Road, a Chinese project of global benefit
Since it was proposed in 2013, the ”One Belt and One Road” (OBOR) attracted international attention for its ambitious objectives of creating a community with shared interests, destiny and responsibility under the win-win strategy.
Its source of inspiration are the old commercial routes of this country and now it seeks to link it to numerous nations through a great platform of exchanges, modern infrastructures and coordinated policies that lead to the balanced growth of the planet.
Therefore, it is about building a path of peace, prosperity, openness, innovation and civilization based on associations that analyze and resolve any difference in dialogue, instead of confrontation.
According to the initial plan, with a staggered investment of one trillion dollars the Road will go from China to Russia and Europe through Central Asia, while the Maritime Route will have the same starting point but will reach Africa.
However, the initiative recently added Latin America and the Caribbean through an industrial park in the southern province of Guangdong and located strategically within the Hengqin free trade zone, near the special administrative regions of Macao and Hong Kong. A survey released this January showed the growing recognition of the project among people around the world, particularly those states through which the corridor will cross.
The percentage went from six points in 2014 to 40 in the period 2016-17 and most respondents expressed confidence in the benefits it will bring to developing countries.
On that aspect, the Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jorge Arreaza, told Prensa Latina that it is an opportunity for progress and generation of important works that will lead to enhance productivity and trade in much of the world.
He described the initiative as fundamental for the future and praised the fact that China is drawing it with a broad vision, spirit of cooperation and policies to also ensure the social progress of the participating countries.
He mentioned plans to establish a deep-water port in the north of Venezuela to create a global trade area, particularly destined for South America and the Caribbean, since it will be close to the Panama Canal.
‘We just entered the route that China wants to design in order to unite the major infrastructure centers and ports, shopping centers in the world, and like Venezuela, the rest of our region has great potential to be inserted in this project,’ he said.
In his opinion, ‘One Belt and One Route’ is a mechanism for future, which can define a lot the mercantile, production and investment relations in the countries involved and beyond the established routes. Likewise, Taotao Chen, an expert from the Latin American-China Studies Center, told Prensa Latina the efforts of that area to integrate and take advantage of the initiative’s potential.
The Chinese plan is also adding more and more followers in Europe, such is the case of France, which expressed willingness to join and participate actively.
President Emmanuel Macron even called on the European Union to follow in his footsteps because it is a viable tool to provide railways, ports and other important works to related nations, especially in Africa, with thousands of migrants seeking refuge in the so-called Old continent.
‘One Belt, One Route’ will help reactivate the stagnating global economy at a time when the United States is pushing to implement protectionism and thus threatens the current development model.
It is called to raise productivity and, to that end, China created millionaire funds aimed at materializing the plans along the way.
Currently, more than 100 countries and international organizations joined the initiative and at least 40 of them signed cooperation agreements with China for more than one a billion US dollars.
To date, OBOR has contributed to create 180,000 jobs.
According to the figures, just two years after launching the project, Chinese direct investments abroad grew close to 116 billion dollars in 2015, which positioned the Asian country in third place in that ranking.
The main destinations were Singapore, Kazakhstan, Laos, Indonesia, Russia and Thailand.
On the other hand, the project includes respect for the environment and social aspects, which translates into positive repercussions in the fight against climate change and progress in equality between different segments of civil society.
Many critics underline the growing influence of China with this plan, but Beijing denies the claim of expansionist aims or interest in harming other states with its vertiginous progress and the promotion of a new model of economic relations.
‘China will never aspire to hegemony or seek expansion at any level of development (…) in any way it will be developed at the expense of the interests of others and its development poses no threat to any country,’ said recently President Xi Jinping, precursor of the initiative.
The proyect augurs advantages for all parties, aims to eliminate barriers to trade, accelerate financial integration and strengthen commercial ties between the participating territories. Likewise, it must promote to a certain degree the realization of the United Nations sustainable development goals for 2030.
Source: Prensa Latina