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This week’s top Belt and Road 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 Belt and Road news

China’s economy grows at slowest pace in 28 years: China’s economy grew at 6.6% in 2018, the slowest pace in 28 years. However, the increase in output was still more than all the goods and services produced in #Australia in 2017.
 
China and Germany lock in further financial services cooperation: The second China-Germany High-Level Financial Dialogue included a deal to develop the offshore Chinese yuan market in Frankfurt and an agreement to deepen coordination between Chinese and German banks
 
China offers US 6 year boost to imports:During talks in January, China has offered a six-year boost in imports during its ongoing talks with the U.S. to eliminate the trade deficit by 2024. The timing is no coincidence – it would coincide with the end of a potential Trump second term
 
 
Trade volume between China and BRI countries up 16% in 2018: Trade volume between China and Belt and Road totaled 1.3 trillion U.S. dollars in 2018, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said Thursday. This marked a year-on-year growth of 16.3%, 3.7 percentage points higher than China's trade growth in 2018.
 
And all other Belt and road news
 
Trade and Investment
 
Li Keqiang solicits feedback: Premier Li Keqiang discussed the Government Work Report and ideas for improvement with a whole range of representatives from business and non-profit sectors; including education, technology, culture, health, and sports circles 
 
2019 CIIE preparations underway already: More than 500 companies from all over the world have already confirmed participation in the second China International Import Expo (CIIE), scheduled in early November this year. More than 80% participated in the first CIIE and will expand presence for the second
 
A new study highlights the impact of BRI: China’s Belt and Road will add US$117 billion to global trade this year, a new study shows. The study also estimates that the Belt and Road Initiative resulted has in US$460 billion worth of investments in the five years since its inception in 2013.
 
Xiao Yaqing holds business forum:Chairman Xiao of China’s State Asset Administration (SASAC) met with business leaders on the sidelines of Davos – including Standard Chartered, HSBC, Siemens, Alibaba, Fosun and Chinese SOEs. They voiced their concerns to Xiao about China’s economic policies
 
Former Chairman says BRI must abide by global investment rules: If China wants to quieten Belt and Road critics, it must meet global investing rules, says Xiao Gang, former China Securities Regulatory Commission Chairman. He also said says BRI investment built solely on Chinese funds is unsustainable
 
China permits imports of genetically modified crops: This month Chinese regulators approved the import of five genetically modified crops. These soybean, corn, and canola “biotech traits” are designed to grow despite natural obstacles like pest infestation. This will represent a boost for US farmers.

Politics

Former diplomats demand the release of Canadian detainees: 143 former China diplomats and academics have written to Xi Jinping demanding Canadian detainees be freed. The open letter to Xi warns of less dialogue and greater distrust and that ‘both China and the rest of the world will be worse off as a result’
 
China cuts the size of the military:China's military, the world's largest force, has cut the size of its land-based army by about 50% and significantly boosted its navy and air force as part of an "unprecedented" strategic shift designed to transform the People's Liberation Army
 
Trade talks with the US canceled last week: The White House has rejected a trade planning meeting with China this week due to outstanding disagreements over intellectual property rules. The meetings were supposed to happen at Vice Ministerial level, led by Wang Shouwen on the Chinese side.
 
Wang Qishan talks US-China relationship: "The Chinese and US economies are mutually indispensable…and neither side can do without the other side," Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan said at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday. "This is the reality," said Wang
 
China to develop green BRI coalition:China plans to initiate an international coalition for green development under the Belt and Road Initiative in 2019, said Chinese Ecology and Environment Minister Li Ganjie during a work meeting concluded Saturday in Beijing.
 
Singapore and China to develop international mediation panel:Singapore and China agreed to establish an international mediation panel to resolve disputes arising from projects under Belt and Road. The BRI Mediator Panel will comprise dispute resolution professionals from both countries
 
Projects

Imran calls for acceleration of CPEC:Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan stressed expediting projects going on under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Khan said that early completion of CPEC related projects is in great interest of Pakistan

New BRI port project in Algeria: China Harbor Engineering Company signed in Algiers a contract worth $445mn USD with state-owned corporation Sonatrach for port installations in eastern Algeria. The project will take 28 months to finish, and allow much larger LNG servicing capacity.

UnionPay goes global: Chinese card payment giant China UnionPay had extended its services to 174 countries and regions by the end of 2018. Its mobile payment services are available in 46 overseas countries and regions, the company said in a statement.

China-Europe train gains momentum through 2018. A total of 2,055 inbound and outbound China-Europe freight trains passed Khorgos Port last year, up 146 percent year-on-year, according to Khorgos customs in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

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