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Top Developments - Belt and Road Monitor: RWR

Top Developments

Iraq Awards Chinese Consortium $20 Billion in Construction Projects
On January 18, an unnamed consortium of Chinese companies reportedly won bids on construction projects worth $20 billion in Iraq’s southern province of al-Muthanna. According to Adel Al-Yasiri, head of the al-Muthanna Investment Authority, the projects include a power station and several factories focused on the production of porcelain, ceramic walls and facades, and cardboard. The first phase of the project totals $2 billion. These contract awards followed a $2 billion prepaid oil purchase agreement with China’s ZhenHua Oil Co. in December that was framed by some observers as a bailout for the cash-strapped Iraq.  

Philippine Mega-Project Cancelled with CCCC
On January 27, the $10 billion Sangley Point International Airport project, previously awarded to a consortium led by China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) in 2020, was withdrawn. The firm reportedly failed to comply with contract requirements, even after the granting of two extensions. According to Juanito Victor Remulla, the governor of Cavite province, the Cavite-based airport will restart under a “more qualified partner” by the end of 2021. The project, for which the CCCC-MacroAsia consortium was the sole bidder, raised security concerns after its signing, and, in August 2020, the Philippine Inquirer reported that the Cavite provincial government would terminate the agreement if the national government decided it was a national security threat.


COSCO Shipping Ports Acquires Stake in Large Middle Eastern Port
On January 27, COSCO Shipping Ports (CSPL) acquired a 20% stake in the Red Sea Gateway Terminal at Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah Islamic Port for $140 million. The Red Sea Gateway Terminal is the largest terminal at the Jeddah Port, which is Saudi Arabia’s largest seaport in terms of volume and cargo handling capacity. The port handles more than 65% of the country’s maritime imports, including large capacities of non-oil goods and some energy-related cargo. 

CITIC to Build Bridge Connecting Oil Ports in Kyaukpyu
On January 25, CITIC Group announced it would build a 15 km highway and bridge to connect two seaports on the Maday and Ramree Islands in Myanmar’s Kyaukpyu special economic zone. Maday Island’s port was established by a 2009 agreement between then-Vice President Xi Jinping and Burmese junta chief Than Shwe as part of a network to transport oil from the Indian Ocean to China’s Yunnan province. Ramree Island, located off the coast of Rakhine State, is also a part of the gas pipeline system that transports oil and gas from the Indian Ocean coast to Yunnan in China. 


Romania Bans Chinese Companies from Future Tenders
On January 27, the Romanian government adopted a memorandum that would exclude Chinese firms from infrastructure tenders in the country. The memorandum, which was recommended by the European Commission, stipulates that companies from countries without a bilateral trade agreement with the European Union can be excluded from tenders. Chinese firms would be most affected by the memorandum, if enacted into law. The move by the Romanian government was reportedly spurred by a perception of unfair competition from Chinese companies and poor quality of work. The memorandum applies to both future and ongoing project tenders, and it is unclear how the memorandum would affect ongoing Chinese-contracted projects in the country.


RWR Group, 

Belt and Road Monitor

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