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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. 
 

Italy is aiming to sign a BRI MOU with China: It would then become the first G7 economy to join the Belt and Road. The announcement precedes President Xi Jinping's visit to Italy planned for March 22-23

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad approves Dubai Silk Road Strategy: The Strategy involves 9 initiatives and 33 projects.

Huawei accuses the US: According to Huawei US agents hacked and stole the company’s emails and source code 

China’s GDP target for 2019: Was set to 6% to 6.5% by Premier Li Keqiang. It is another signal of an economic slowdown in #China. The goal for 2018 was set at “around 6.5%” 

China’s GDP of China is around 12% smaller than official figures suggest: This is the result of research by Washington-based think-tank Brookings Institution
 
And all other Belt and Road news
 
Trade and Investment
 
Chinese exports in Feb 2019 21% lower than in 2018: China ’s exports went down by 20.7% in February 2019 in comparison to a year before. It is the steepest year-on-year decline in #exports in 3 years.

China offers the US to lower tariffs on selected goods: China is offering lower tariffs on US auto, chemical, and farm products in the course of the trade talks.

China and the US are close to closing a currency deal: China and the US are reported to be close to closing a currency deal. Beijing is not to devaluate yuan in order to help exports 

BRICS bank issues 3 billion CNY of yuan-denominated bonds: BRICS New Development Bank issued 3 billion yuan worth of yuan-denominated bonds in China. It’s the second issuance following one in 2016. 
 
Politics
 
Leaked memo reveals China’s BRI plan for Italy: The document outlines China’s plan for cooperation with Italy under the Belt and Road Initiative.

Debt deal between China and Congo possible: The debt deal could be signed within 3 months. China owns 35% of Congo’s debt.

$298bn tax cuts unveiled during the Two Sessions: China unveiled a plan to cut $298bn of taxes in order to boost economic growth. VAT for transportation and construction sectors will be decreased from 10% to 9% and VAT for manufacturers from 16% to 13%.

Czech politicians divided over Chinese influence: Czech politicians debate Huawei and China influence in the Czech Republic. Central and Eastern Europe become a field of competition between China and the US. 

Turkey will join the Second Belt and Road Forum: Turkey confirmed that it will attend the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.
 
Projects
 
New comprehensive bonded zone on China-Russia-DRPK border: China established a new comprehensive bonded zone in Hunchun, in Jilin Province, which borders Russia and North Korea.

AIIB approves $455 million loans to India: The loan is related to a rural road project in Andhra Pradesh in India. 

Nepal chooses China rail-gauge standards over India: Nepal will use China standard of a railway-track gauge in the construction of Raxaul-Kathmandu railway. It is a setback for #India that wanted Nepal to use its broad-gauge standard and shows the competition of the two powers in South Asia.

Georgian BRI port project threatened by domestic politics: Anaklia Sea Deep Water Port, an important BRI project and the largest economic project in Georgia, is threatened as Georgian government enters a conflict with a leading Georgian bank TBC involved in the project.

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