Welcome to this week’s issue of China Briefing’s Belt & Road Initiative Weekly Investor Intelligence.
The world’s biggest free trade zone since the formation of the WTO is about to kick in with the African Continental FTA, and we look at the global impact it will have. We discuss how non-Chinese businesses can take advantage of the BRI infrastructure build, visit the First Eurasian Congress, a pan-Eurasian event held by the Eurasian Development Bank, examine the potential for a railway through Kyrgyzstan, and look at what Uzbekistan’s joining the Eurasian Economic Union signals. Plus snarky comments about China’s ‘Singles Day’.
The new African free trade deal starts from January 1, 2021 and unites a US$3.4 trillion market, eliminating tariffs on 90 percent of all goods. AfCFTA with China’s Belt And Road Initiative promise huge manufacturing potential. Chinese and Russian investors are already well advanced into the African market, with Free Trade Zones and Industrial Parks opening all over the African continent. There are plenty of opportunities for foreign investors to invest for low cost export manufacturing.
BRI infrastructure builds nearing completion mean huge opportunities in the service sector. We examine what is required to take advantage of these projects once they are finished.
The First Eurasian Congress, held by the Eurasian Development Bank, has called for further development of the Eurasian Economic Union, increased infrastructure connectivity with China and increasing collaboration between regional Development Banks.
The China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan Rail Corridor back on the agenda, and would connect China with the Middle East, but is awaiting political reforms and a new Government in Kyrgyzstan to allow progress.
Uzbekistan is the most populous country in Central Asia and is emerging from 25 years of repressive rule. Signing it up as a member of the EAEU would signify that Uzbek President Shavkat Miriyoyev continues to see Moscow as Uzbekistan’s primary economic partner, despite the overtures of China and Turkey.
Chinese media have picked up on a new phrase for part of the Belt And Road Initiative, with the prosaic “Air Silk Road” being bandied about as a new phenomena. But how much of this is hype, and how much is real?
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