Belt And Road Weekly Investor Intelligence #113
Tuesday, December 27, 2022
Compiled by Chris Devonshire-Ellis
The big geopolitical news this past week has been a meeting between Xi Jinping and Russia’s Deputy Security Council Chairman, we look at the issues raised. US Securities regulators have finally gained access to Chinese public audited accounts, we examine the implications. We examine the RCEP agreement and what it meant for 2022 Asian trade and discuss significant political developments between Iran and Saudi Arabia, as well as Iran’s expanding global trade reach. An overlooked incentive will reduce costs for Asian exporters using Middle Corridor routes while making the EU less competitive, while Kazakhstan is looking for Arabian Sea access via rail to Pakistan. Pakistan’s UAE trade is galloping ahead, while we discuss increasing de-dollarisation between Russia, Iran, and India. Georgia’s trade with Asia has significantly increased, and Siberian tourists get direct access to Thailand. We complete this overview with the news Western media has attempted to suppress concerning Russian trade, energy, and the impact of sanctions.
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Dmitri Medvedev, Russia’s Deputy Security Council Chairman has met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing. The contents of this discussion were not disclosed but are likely to have included comments on the ‘unipolar vs multipolar’ world leadership issues, handling the United States, the Ukraine conflict, China’s border skirmishes with India, energy supplies, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, BRICS development, and overall trade and security. We discuss these issues in detail.
US regulators have gained unrestricted access to the audit documentation of public accounting firms headquartered in mainland China and Hong Kong for the first time, marking the first major step to resolving a long-standing impasse on how to audit Chinese companies that are listed on US stock exchanges. The announcement marks a breakthrough in audit and oversight cooperation between China and the US.
According to the World Bank, the RCEP covers 2.3 billion people or 30% of the world’s population, contributes about US$25.8 trillion to global GDP per annum – about 30% of the annual total, and accounts for US$12.7 trillion – over 25% of global trade in goods and services. Joseph Matthews, a senior professor at the BELTEI International University in Phnom Penh, said the world’s biggest trading bloc has provided mutually beneficial cooperation for all participating countries.
This decision affects both economies, increases the global process of de-dollarization, and impacts Russia-India trade turnover. Bilateral trade is set to boom in 2023-24 as numerous export multipliers also come into the trade picture. We examine the full picture behind these moves.
Russian Railways (RZD), together with the railways of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Iran, has granted reduced container-kilometer rates in 2023 for using the infrastructure of the eastern route of the North-South international transport corridor that links Russia with countries in the Caspian basin, the Persian Gulf and Central, South and Southeast Asia. The move will financially incentivize Middle Corridor trade while making EU-Asian routes less regionally competitive.
The two countries have been discussing participation in the construction of the Trans-Afghan railroad. This would involve routes heading south from Kazakhstan, across Uzbekistan, and Afghanistan before connecting with the Pakistan rail network south to Pakistan’s southern Arabian Sea Ports. From there, goods can be shipped throughout the Middle East, East Africa, India, and elsewhere in South Asia.
Quite probably China-brokered prompts are leading to signs that Tehran is seeking to ease tensions with its rival. China and Russia would prefer cordial relations as Iran is a key part of the INSTC transport corridor, and China is heavily involved in key Saudi Arabian projects.
The US is losing influence in its own backyard as pariah states rebel.
Faisal Niaz Tirmizi, the Pakistan Ambassador to the UAE has stated that UAE-Pakistan bilateral trade stood at US$10.6 billion in 2021-22, signaling an additional 45% growth over the past eleven months.
The Caucasus is moving East, not West as competitiveness, energy, and supply chains all point to Asia.
Iran’s trade with the Russian-backed EAEU Free Trade bloc has been growing at rates in excess of 70% per annum.
Aeroflot plans to launch direct flights from Irkutsk to Bangkok beginning January 18, 2023. Russian outbound tourism is booming with many Asian markets becoming an increasingly attractive winter sun option. There are also increasing opportunities for Russian businesses to export to Thailand for both support of the growing Russian expatriate market and the local consumer market.
The latest updates on Russian trade, energy, and sanctions impact.
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