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This week’s top Belt and Road news

Source: Belt and Road Advisory

BRI Briefing

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

 
Trump lessens prospect of Huawei ban:Trump tweets: “I want the US to win through competition, not by blocking out currently more advanced technologies.” His comments struck a noticeably more dovish tone than many others in his administration, who have been lobbying US allies not to use Huawei
 
Saudi Arabia and Pakistan sign portmega deal: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud on Sunday signed with Pakistan eight agreements worth $20bn. One of the agreements is on Saudi Arabia's Aramco-run $10bn refinery in the Pakistani port of Gwadar, one of the world's largest refineries.
 
China releases Greater Bay Area Development Plan: China’s reveals details of Greater Bay Area plan to turn Hong Kong and 10 neighboring cities into economic hub. Years in the making, the scheme embodies President Xi’s ambition to build innovation and finance powerhouse to rival Silicon Valley & Tokyo Bay Area.
 
China refutes accusations of corruption along CPEC: Following accusations of corruption along China-Pakistan Economic Corridor raised by Pakistan 's communication minister Saeed, the Chinese company in question, China State Construction Engineering Corp (CSCEC), said it is "shocked" by the "groundless allegations"
 
And all other Belt and Road news
 
Trade and Investment
 
Xi’An sees big rise in trade: Xi'an, heartof the ancient silk road, saw a 30% increase in trade volume in 2018.Thecity launched 1,235 China-Europe freight trains in 2018, 6.4 times the number in 2017, transporting a total of 1.2 million tons of goods with a value of $1.72 billion
 
Li Keqiang expresses concerns about credit growth: A rare public spat has erupted between Chinese premier Li Keqiang and the central bank after he expressed concern about record credit expansion in January, a result of monetary stimulus intended to support flagging economic growth.
 
China’s investment in BRI countries rises 8% in January: China's non-financial outbound direct investment (ODI) in 47 countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative rose 8.1 percent year on year to 1.33 billion U.S. dollars in January this year, data showed Thursday.  
 
China’s commercial banks to issue perpetual bonds: China's commercial banks are gearing up to issue more perpetual bonds in an attempt to recapitalize the institutions ahead of an anticipated slowdown of the country's economy, the deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China said.
 
Politics
 
Pence challenges Europe to back US:Mike Pence challenged Europe to support America on growing international crises incl the threat posed by Chinese technology, Iran’s nuclear ambitions and the battle for power in Venezuela. “The west will never ever be broken, our civilization will triumph,” he said
 
Venezuela opposition tries to establish ties with US: Venezuela’s parallel government led by opposition leader Juan Guaidó is trying to establish formal diplomatic relations with China and Russia, the two most powerful allies of the man he wants to topple, President Nicolás Maduro.  
 
UK concludes Huawei manageable risk:British intelligence has concluded that it is possible to mitigate the risk from using Huawei equipment in 5G networks, in a serious blow to US efforts to persuade allies to ban the Chinese supplier from high-speed telecommunications systems.
 
China and Iran to strengthen ties: China's top legislator Li Zhanshu met with Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani in Beijing on Tuesday, and the two sides agreed to strengthen cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.
 
Duterte reaffirms backing for Belt and Road forum: During a meeting withChinese ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua on Wednesday night, President Duterte of the Philippines expressed his great pleasure to attend the second Belt and Road Forum in Aprl2019. He will likely be a keynote speaker
 
Semiconductors are part of trade negotiations: US and Chinese negotiators are trying to resolve a long-running dispute between semiconductor rivals Micron Technologies and Fujian Jinhua as part of the latest round of trade negotiations

Australia denies fears of growing diplomatic rift with China: Australian PM Morrison sought to play down new Chinese restrictions on coal imports after the country’s major mining groups sounded warnings over delays facing shipments of the country’s top export.
 
Projects
 
China-Laos Railway to be completed soon: Over 90% of the tendered bridge and tunnel projects of the China-Laos railway will be completed by the end of 2019, the construction company has said. By the end of 2018, the accumulated investment of the railway had reached $1.7 billion USD.
 
Chinese firm to build Ethiopia-Djibouti gas pipeline: Chinese firm Poly-GCL Petroleum Group Holdings Limited (Poly-GCL) is to construct the 767-km Ethiopia-Djibouti natural gas pipeline. Recently, Poly-GCL discovered 7 to 8 billion cubic trillion feet of natural gas in Ethiopia's Somali regional state.
 
China willing to renegotiate ECRL with Malaysia: China is open to slashing the cost and size of Malaysia’s $20bn East Coast Rail Link to save its keystone Belt and Road project in the country and preserve the initiative’s standing in the rest of the region, a senior Malaysian minister said.
 
Chinese companies to play a role in building Ethiopian dam: Chinese construction and engineering company, China Gezhouba Group Co. Ltd. (CGGC), has signed a $40mn contract agreement with the Ethiopian government to take part in the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

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