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This week’s top BRI news

Source: Belt and Road Advisory

Our BRI Briefing summarizes and analyzes key news related to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) over the last week.

This week’s top BRI news

Xi seeks greater connectivity with HK and Macau:Xi met with top leaders from Hong Kong and Macau on Monday to celebrate 40 years of Reform and Opening. The Greater Bay Area, the connectivity initiative that links HK, Macau and the mainland, was a key focus point of discussions.
 
China and Singapore upgrade FTA:China and Singapore have upgraded their free-trade agreement. Singapore will now have more access to China’s legal, maritime and construction services sector while China will have more access to Singapore’s air transport, courier and environmental sectors.
US and China resume trade talks:China’s Commerce Ministry said that Washington and Beijing have resumed trade talks. Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said that the two sides are “maintaining close contact,” but gave no further details about who is involved in discussions.
 
Pence delivers major speech countering BRI: US Vice-President Mike Pence delivered a major speech on America’s Indo-Pacific strategy at an economic summit in Papua New Guinea this weekend. It fleshed out in the most concrete terms yet Washington’s plans to counter.
 
And all other BRI news
 
Trade and Investment
 
Alibaba Single’s Day sets records: On its 10th anniversary, Alibaba’s Single’s Day saw total sales of 213.5 billion yuan, a 27% increase versus last year. This amounts to 7x more than Amazon’s “Prime Day”! 40% of buyers bought from international brands
 
RCEP to be finalized next year: China expects to finalize negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in 2019, Premier Li Keqiang said Tuesday when delivering a speech in Singapore. This represents a delay as was expected to be end of 2018.
 
China and Canada to continue FTA talks: China and Canada Wednesday pledged to press ahead with negotiations on free trade agreement (FTA). This is despite the “poison pill” clause in USMCA.
 
EBRD supports internationalization of yuan: The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is supporting the internationalization of the yuan & interested in working with the Chinese monetary authority in developing local currency lending, backed by a further improved local capital market.  
BRI private investment falls: Chinese private investment in belt and road projects may be losing steam. Investment share of Chinese private firms fell 12 percent in the first half from a year ago.
 
Ukraine and China to start FTA talks:First Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine, Stepan Kubiv, during a Beijing meeting with Vice Premier of the State Council of China Liu He, proposed to start joint consultations on the prerequisites for establishing a Ukraine-China Free Trade Area.
 
Politics

Victoria state comes under pressure for signing BRI MoU: Last month, the Australian state of Victoria signed a MoU with China on Belt and Road. Now, they have bowed to national pressure and agreed to release the terms of the MoU in what could be seen as unconstitutional.
 
Fiji latest to sign BRI MoU:Fiji and China signed a memorandum of understanding in Suva on Monday on cooperation under the Belt and Road
 
Rise of the agricultural silk road: China aims to step up grain imports from BeltandRoad countries, seeking to diversify supply sources amid a trade war with the United States, a key cabinet researcher said on Wednesday.
 
ASEAN + China meetings held: Premier Li Keqiang arrived in Singapore to attend the 21st China-ASEAN (10+1) leaders' meeting, the 21st ASEAN-China, Japan and South Korea (10+3) leaders' meeting and the 13th East Asia Summit. The China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership Vision 2030 wasapproved at the summit. The document plans for political and security, economic and socio-cultural cooperation.
 
Pence and Abe commit to Free and Open Indo-Pacific: Speaking in Tokyo on Tuesday, Vice President Mike Pence and Japanese Prime Minister Abe reaffirmed their desire for a free and open Indo-Pacific. They agreed to deepen cooperation in promoting energy, infrastructure and providing loans to nations in the region.
 
Projects
 
The Brunei-China Belt and Road Association has been established."The establishment of the association will better promote bilateral cooperation in economic, trade, culture, education, sports, health and tourism fields," it was said in a statement.
 
Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Turkmenistan have a great responsibility in the revival of the modern Silk Road, the Turkish Foreign Minister said in Ashgabat during a meeting with the Turkmen President.

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