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This week’s top Belt and Road news

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 Belt and Road news
 
Trump and Kim to meet at the end of the month: DonaldTrump is to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for a second summit by the end of February, the White House says. The announcement came afterMr Trump met top North Korean negotiator Kim Yong-chol at the White House.
 
China’s foreign trade hits historic high in 2018: China's foreign trade hits historic high in 2018. Exports in 2018 grew well (almost 10% compared with about 8% in 2017) while imports grew the same as in 2017 (15.8%). The trade surplus with the US was the highest ever ($323bn)
 
Inward FDI into China grows by 3% in 2018: Foreign Direct Investment into China grew 3% in 2018 to reach $135bn, a slowdown versus 2017 (+5%) and 2016 (+7%). However, Minister Zhong of MOFCOM said this still reflected progress given global FDI had fallen by 40% in 2018.
 
Pentagon warns BRI is a geopolitical ploy: The Pentagon has said China is using its expanding military, trading and infrastructure network to pursue global leadership in a report that warned that its global ambitions could undermine the security of the US and allies
 
Pakistan shelves BRI power plant: Pakistanwill shelve the 1,320 MW Rahim Yar Khan coal-power project under the $ 60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, citing sufficient generation capacity already lined up for the next few years.
 
And all other Belt and Road news
 
Trade and Investment
 
China to develop offshore renminbi markets in ASEAN: China has said it will support countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to set up offshore renminbi markets as part of a string of measures to facilitate cross-border financial innovation.
 
Chinese FDI to USA drops rapidly: In 2018, Chinese foreign direct investment into the U.S. fell to just $4.8 billion — a massive decline from $29 billion in 2017 and $46 billion in 2016, according to independentresearcher the Rhodium Group.
 
Chinese manufacturing sectors see inward FDI boost: While FDI into China in 2018 only grew 3%, FDI into its manufacturing sector grew 20.1%, with investment in high-tech manufacturing surging 35.1%.
 
China injects record amount of money to stimulate its economy. On Wednesday, the Chinese central bank injected a net 560 billion yuan ($83 billion) into the banking system, the highest ever recorded for a single day.
 
Chinese unemployment rises: China’sslowdown and tariffs are affecting industrial employment. An official survey covering 374,000 large industrial firms shows total employment declined by about 2.8 million people in the 12 months to November 2018.
 
China renews FTZ emphasis: China has pledged to continue pushing forward the construction of pilot free trade zones (FTZs) to widen opening-up, highlightingmedicare, education, shipping, aerospaceand automobile as key industries for further liberalization
 
China identifies 30 key markets to target for trade growth in 2019: In a press conference on Thursday, MOFCOM said they were confident about securing stable trade growth in 2019. They have also unveiled a list of 30 key markets to target this year for trade growth.
 
Politics
 
China leading renewables development,report finds: The Global Commission on the Geopolitics of Energy Transformation published a report that concluded: “No country has put itself in a better position to become the world’s renewable energy superpower than China”.
 
Huawei seeks to appease US: The billionaire founder of Huawei, Ren Zhengfei sought to alleviate fears on Huawei acting as a tool for the Chinese government. Ren also called Trump a “great president”.
 
Germany and China bolster financial cooperation: Germany and China signed agreements to deepen their cooperation in the financial sector on Friday. The agreements will involve German financial market regulator Bafin.
 
US and UK South China Sea Military Drills: US and UK conducted joint military drills in the South China Sea for the first time since 2010. A US Navy guided missiledestroyer, the USS McCampbell, and a Royal Navy frigate, the HMS Argyll, conducted communications drills from for 5 days.
 
Projects
 
Pakistan and Alibaba launch first blockchain-based remittance services: Shows that the countries have upgraded their cooperation from traditional industries such as infrastructure and energy to innovative technology under Belt and Road
 
China builds national stadium in Cambodia:It’s not just railways and ports China is building as part of Belt and Road. In Cambodia, a new $160mn national stadium is being financed by Chinese aid and built by China State Construction Engineering Corporation. Due to complete in 2020.
 
BRI fashion week held: The 3rd Belt and Road International Fashion Week was held in the ancient Chinese city of Xi’an. The event involves leading fashion designers from all over the world - with a particularfocus on those from Belt and Road countries.

Ecuador inaugurates BRI power station: Ecuador on Tuesday inaugurated the Minas-San Francisco hydroelectric power station built by Chinese firm Harbin Electric International at the Pacific watershed between the southern provinces of Azuay and El Oro.
 
Ethiopia to construct more roads using Chinese contractor: The Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA) signed a road construction agreement worth $33 mn with Chinese firm Sinohydro Corporation. The gov’t aims to increase the country's main road coverage from 100,000 km in 2015 to 200,000 in 2020.

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