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Showing posts from May 23, 2018

First TIR transports in China advance Belt and Road prospects

18 May 2018 Dalian The world’s biggest trading nation opens its borders for TIR operations today. Offering time savings in China of up to 80%, the global customs transit standard connects 73 countries across the world and is a cornerstone of the Belt and Road initiative to boost economic and trade development. Marked today at a ceremony in Dalian, a key port in northeast Asia and one of six TIR-ready Belt and Road gateways, the first transport operations under TIR will enhance interconnectivity between countries along routes across the region. With the potential to increase the total trade volume among China and other major countries along the Belt and Road route by up to USD 13.6 billion, representing 1.4% of China’s total volume of trade exports, the activation of TIR will see Chinese goods going global with greater efficiency, while foreign imports will be faster and safer. The development shows the country’s commitment to seeking mutual benefit, and a two-way opening up of inte

China's big idea - the Belt and Road initiative - will need Kiwi smarts

Stephen Jacobi KIEREN SCOTT New Zealand’s knowledge industries could benefit from opportunities opened by China’s Belt and Road initiative. OPINION:  China has a really big idea and would value our help. The big idea is the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).  It's all about boosting global connectivity between countries through development-led trade.  New Zealand has expressed interest in exploring the idea, as have 80 other countries and international organisations who want to carve out their own unique roles in the initiative.   The New Zealand China Council has just released a report prepared by PwC identifying four ways New Zealand can contribute – in trade facilitation, the conduit New Zealand provides between China and Latin America, innovation and the creative sector.  The report provides a pathway for boosting greater connectivity with China, which could be of direct economic benefit to the country. READ MORE: *  Academic queries new report on China's worldwide t

China’s Belt and Road Initiative: A Call for Pragmatism

RUSI.ORG  , Raffaello Pantucci China’s Belt and Road Initiative requires a logical response, one based on an assessment of realities rather than rhetoric, and reciprocity, rather than outright confrontation There has been little clarity of the UK’s approach to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) since the  prime minister’s visit to Beijing in January . The key message to emerge from the visit seemed contradictory: the UK claimed to be ‘a natural partner’ for the BRI, but at the same time, Prime Minister Theresa May refused to sign a memorandum of understanding for the initiative presented by Chinese leaders. But this is a comprehensible paradox. The UK is facing the same conundrum posed to most countries: Chinese investment is attractive, but the norms and political pressure that may follow in the wake of this grand initiative are not. The key to properly responding to Beijing’s economic statecraft under the BRI is clarity. The foreign policy concept advanced by Chinese President Xi

Sri Lanka says Belt and Road Initiative will uplift living standard of local people

COLOMBO, May 23 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lankan International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrema on Wednesday said the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative would raise the living standard of the people in the country. Speaking at a symposium titled " From Millennium to the New Era: Jointly Build the Belt and Road and Embrace the Sri Lankan Dream ," Samarawickrema said that Sri Lanka and China had shared strong relations since ancient times, and China had assisted Sri Lanka even in its rough times. Samarawickrema said that China had greatly contributed to developing Sri Lanka's economy, especially since the end of the country's 30-year civil conflict, and it had launched projects under the Belt and Road Initiative, which would transform Sri Lanka into an international hub in the region. " China is sincerely looking to improve the economy of Sri Lanka and with their assistance I have no doubt Sri Lanka will be a better country in the near future," the ministe

How China’s Belt and Road Initiative can extend its reach to the edge of the European Union

Donald Gasper says China linking its Belt and Road Initiative with the Eurasian Economic Union will open up a new trade corridor that offers opportunities for all the countries involved Donald Gasper UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 May 2018, 10:50PM   Although President  Donald Trump  appears for the moment to have  suspended US threats  to launch a  trade war  with Beijing, the dark clouds of protectionism continue to linger, putting a damper on the development of free trade in Asia and many other parts of the world. There are reports, however, of possible new initiatives to strengthen trade and economic links between China and the countries of the  ancient Silk Road . Such moves could help to offset negative trends elsewhere and could prove to be a game changer in facilitating business flows between Asia and Europe. Joint efforts by Beijing, Moscow and the Central Asian capitals will be necessary to counter attempts from other countries to undermine their efforts to strengthen inter-regi

Chinese university establishes Silk Road School

NANJING, May 23 (Xinhua) -- * Renmin University * of China on Wednesday inaugurated its * Silk Road School * at its campus in Suzhou City in east China's Jiangsu Province. _About 100 overseas students from countries and regions along the Belt and Road will participate in the school's free two-year postgraduate program in September._ The program, which mainly recruits students from countries and regions along the Belt and Road, allows for research specialization in Chinese politics, Chinese economy, Chinese law, and Chinese culture. The school will work to increase the number of new students each year to 200 in three years. The students are eligible for full scholarships, which will cover their tuition, accommodation, and medical insurance, as well as a living allowance. The school will strive to cultivate high-caliber professionals to serve the Belt and Road Initiative, said Liu Wei, president of the university

Tales from the emerald water of Gwadar

By  Naveed Iftikhar "Chabahar is a clean city and Gwadar is not!" PHOTO: FILE Getting off the plane at Gwadar airport, I was holding Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s book:  The Skin in the Game . The book caught the eye of the person next to me and he asked: “Are you a finance professional?” I told him that being an economist, I do have interest in finance. He was a tall and well-dressed gentleman who introduced himself as a former international banker having worked in many countries and now planning to raise investment for a few development projects in Gwadar. I was expecting encounters only with property dealers, not bankers in Gwadar. The refreshing encounter, to my surprise, was the start of my eventful trip in Gwadar city. Senate chairman inaugurates Gwadar desalination plant From the entrance of Gwadar Port — in the beautiful backdrop of the fluttering flags of red and green—one can observe that the work on the port and free zone is advancing rapidly. Things are lagging b

Balochistan connecting gateway for bilateral ties: Chinese envoy

QUETTA:  Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing on Wednesday said that China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was a joint venture and Balochistan in this region is a connecting gateway for countries seeking to develop more collaborative bilateral ties. A high level Chinese delegation under the leadership of Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing, visited University of Balochistan (UoB) and met Vice Chancellor Dr. Javed Iqbal. Registrar, Faculty members and Senior Teachers, were also present on this occasion. The delegation was apprised about ongoing and future educational and research innovative programs of the university. Vice Chancellor Dr Javed Iqbal said that UoB is considered as a primordial educational institution of Balochistan province and has always maintained good relations with national and international educational institutions and research centres. Vice Chancellor Dr Javed Iqbal said that University was taking concrete measures for provision of higher education in Balochistan and in this

In Balochistan, Hindus Under Threat in the Face of State Indifference

Targeted killings, robberies aim to weaken the community's business influence. File photo of Hindus in Pakistan demanding their rights. Credit: Reuters Veengas Karachi (Pakistan):  Minorities face threats and have been under attack in Balochistan, the southwestern province of Pakistan. The province is struggling with an insurgency and Christians, Shias, Hazaras and Hindus are unsafe. Recently, reports claimed that Christian and Hazara communities have been targeted by terrorist groups. Jalila Haider, an activist from the Hazara community, went on a hunger strike demanding protection for the Hazara community. “More Hazaras have been murdered than rump sheep in Quetta,” she said, speaking to  BBC Urdu . In Quetta, banned organisations operate openly and the city has experienced unending violence against minority communities. Two Hindus – 40-year-old Jay Pal and his 19-year-old son Girish Nath –  were gunned down in Hub, a city in Lasbela district of Balochistan  on May 12, 20

CPEC to bring about revolution: CM

Saleem Shahid Updated May 24, 2018 QUETTA: Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo has said the China-Pak­istan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would bring a development revolution in Pakistan. During a meeting with Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Mr Yao Jing at the Chief Minister House here on Wednesday, the chief minister said that Pak-China relations would become stronger after the completion of the multi-billion dollars project. Mr Jing, who is on an official trip of Quetta, discussed with Mr Bizenjo the Balochistan government’s role in completion of the CPEC project. The chief minister said the CPEC would bring development and economic revolution in Pakistan, particularly in Balochistan. ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER AD He urged the Chinese government to include Balochistan’s due share in the CPEC and said his province needed more infrastructure. “Balochistan government is utilising all resources to provide facilities, including security to Chinese engineers working on CPEC pro

Nepal-China Economic Corridor à la CPEC

Wednesday, May 23, 2018 telegraphnepal N. P. Upadhyaya:  Chances have become high that China may help Nepal as per the needs and the aspirations of the latter when Prime Minister KP Oli lands in Beijing somewhere around the third week of June, 2018. That China is serious in the fulfilment of its commitments made to Nepal in 2016, has begun surfacing. Connectivity Matters: As per the several agreement(s) made then with China on a variety of sectors, linking China’s Tibet with the nearest location close to Kathmandu and elsewhere, a technical team from China has already arrived in Nepal, May 22, 2018, to conduct the pre-feasibility study for the cross border railway from KERUNG, China, to Kathmandu, so says Department of Nepal Railways official, reports Xinhua news agency. Says Aman Chitrakar, a divisional engineer from Nepal Railways that the “Chinese technical team have visited the proposed sites of the planned Railway line “. Nepal Railways official, Mr. Chitrakar further told

Pak Faces Forex Crisis, Turns to Chinese Banks for Loan

PTI Pakistan has once again turned to its all-weather ally China for help in averting a foreign currency crisis by borrowing USD 1 billion from Chinese banks in April on "good, competitive rates”, according to a media report on Wednesday, 23 May. In an interview with  The Financial Times , the State Bank of Pakistan Governor Tariq Bajwa confirmed the loans were made by Beijing-backed banks on good rates. “The money strengthens the financial, political and military ties between the two countries,” the top Pakistani banker was quoted as saying by the newspaper. "Chinese commercial banks are awash with liquidity," Bajwa said. Pakistan's foreign exchange reserves have dropped from USD 18.1 billion in April last year to USD 10.8 billion in May 2018. Also Read:  China-Pakistan Ties: A Question of Faith And Doubt for India According to the article, Pakistani officials also hope that borrowing from Chinese banks will also save Pakistan from seeking help from the

CPEC and skills development

By  Hasaan Khawar Published: May 22, 2018 The writer is a public policy expert and an honorary Fellow of Consortium for Development Policy Research. He tweets at @hasaankhawar Over the last few months, I have been asked one question repeatedly at multiple forums. What kind of skills should Pakistan invest in to prepare its workforce for CPEC-related projects? While I have not come across any detailed research on the subject, although based on available information it is possible to draw some broad conclusions. The upcoming job opportunities and skills demand can be broadly categorised into three major areas. First comes the infrastructure-related jobs created by CPEC investments in roads, energy projects, Gwadar port, etc. Most of these jobs are temporary in nature and relate to construction and operationalisation of these projects. It is estimated that the early harvest CPEC projects have already created 30,000 to 70,000 jobs for Pakistani workforce. These include 16,000 laboure

China's proving to be an expensive date for Pakistan

By Bloomberg  The truth is that the cure for Pakistan’s economy is obvious -- just difficult for politicians to implement. Pakistan needs to be integrated with the global economy, not just with China’s extractive state. By Mihir Sharma We’re about two months away from elections in  Pakistan  -- elections that are almost certain to be shrouded in controversy, one way or another. And, worryingly for Pakistan, it appears that the economy is weakening, just in time for the instability that might follow from the country’s turbulent politics. Under the outgoing government -- led till last April by  Nawaz Sharif , three times prime minister -- the economy had appeared to be doing well. In fact, a new energy seemed to have infused Pakistan’s entrepreneurs and investors; in the last fiscal year, the economy grew at 5.8 percent, the fastest rate in 13 years. ADVERTISEMENT That now appears set to change. Economists polled by Bloomberg worry that, in the coming year, growth will slow to 5.

China to continue concessional financing under CPEC

Image Source: thenews.comThe News reported that China assured Pakistan that Beijing would continue financing projects after conversion of concessional loans from domain of its Ministry of Commerce (Mofcom) to newly established China Aid just like on the pattern of USAID. This process of conversion has caused some delays in execution of some crucial projects like ML-1, Karachi Circular Railway and others under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in Pakistan but now this conversion was done and there would be no more delays. Chinese Ambassador in Pakistan who participated in last review meeting for analysing progress on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) before completion of PML-N led regime five year tenure under chairmanship of Federal Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal here on Monday, assured Pakistani side that the newly established China Aid had become operational and they would continue concessional financing in Pakistan under CPEC. Federal Minister for Planning Ahsan Iq

Is Pakistani Agriculture Ready for CPEC?

Family members of a Pakistani farmer harvest wheat crops in the suburbs of Islamabad, Pakistan (April 20, 2018). Image Credit: AP Photo/B.K. Bangash A lack of government planning could leave Pakistan’s farmers on the losing end of a far-reaching deal with China. By Andrew McCormick May 17, 2018 The basmati rice grown in Pakistan’s Punjab province is long and slender-grained. It is aromatic, fluffy when cooked and, in classic Pakistani dishes, pairs well with lentil and gravies made from chickpea flour and spices. At market, it draws double the price, if not more, of non-basmati, long-grain rice varieties. In recent years, however, basmati revenues have slumped in Pakistan amid low-yield harvests and uneven quality. At the  Sino-Pakistan Hybrid Rice Research Center  in Karachi, Chinese and Pakistani scientists are working to reverse this trend. Using state-of-the-art genetic technologies, they are developing high-yield, high-quality, and pest-resistant rice varieties, for both do

RWR Advisory: Belt and Road at a Glance

RWR Advisory Group  Top Developments Malaysia Election Casts Doubt on Chinese Investment On May 10, Mahathir Mohamed emerged as the confirmed victor in the Malaysian  general elections. Mahathir’s victory could spell trouble for major Chinese projects in the country, as the now former Prime Minister Razak Najib’s aggressive courting of Chinese investment (including transactions that appeared designed to bail out his scandal-ridden 1MDB sovereign wealth fund) was an issue that was front-and-center during the campaign. During his campaign, Mahathir  indicated  that Kuala Lumpur “may” renegotiate some terms of Chinese deals that he and his coalition partners view to be unfavorable to the host economy and creating unhealthy economic and financial dependencies. For example, the East Coast Rail Link is one project that was advocated for by Najib, despite consistent controversy over its increasing costs, potential negative environmental implications, significant project delays, and, rece