Tuesday, March 9, 2021
Welcome to this week’s issue of China Briefing’s Belt & Road Initiative Weekly Investor Intelligence round up.
In this week’s edition, we take a look at the African Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) as a case study in how China is combining soft and hard infrastructure developments to create a perfect trading environment for its businesses across the BRI. We also examine two major BRI projects in China that have just been prioritized at last week’s ‘Two Sessions’ meetings in Beijing, one of which provides Tibet with seaport access and the other access to China’s hinterland of 280 million people. We also examine the Trans-Afghan railway, and how China, Russia, and India have taken the lead in global COVID-19 vaccine distribution at a time when Western nations are squabbling about who gets what.
Schemes provide seaport access for Tibet and Sichuan to ASEAN, and possible future access to India via Nyingtri. The South China Guangxi coast will see huge Port development, with implications also for Hainan Island. The projects open up access to China’s hinterlands of 280 million people.
The Dongshan Tunnel is a key China infrastructure project to serve the Belt & Road Initiative. It is expected to significantly increase traffic flow between Gansu and Qinghai, cutting more than 400 kilometers on the previous road connections and about five hours in time.
China has rolled out the latest Encouraged Catalogue for Western China in a bid to attract investment into its vast western region. Lower corporate income tax rates and other preferential treatments are available as the area acquires strategic importance as China seeks to enhance its regional supply chains.
Trans-Afghan Railway to provide links from Russia, Uzbekistan through Pakistan to the Arabian Gulf. Pakistan, Uzbekistan, and Afghanistan have agreed to a roadmap for the building of a 573-kilometer route from Mazar-e-Sharif to Peshawar, via Kabul. The project, at an estimated cost of US$5 billion, will open Pakistani seaports on the Arabian Gulf to Uzbekistan.
China’s moves into Africa are in fact a great case study into how the Belt & Road Initiative actually works. While most of the media commentary has been on the infrastructure, there is rather a lot more at play. This article demonstrates how China is putting in hard – and soft – infrastructure to boost its supply chains and trade.
China, Russia, and India have taken the lead in sending millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses to countries around the world as Western nations concentrate on vaccinating their own populations first; some squabbling over political issues, supply chain access, and whose vaccine is superior.
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