22 May 2015
Chinese Provinces Launch “Belt and Road” Projects
Chinese provincial governments are stepping up efforts to integrate their economic plans with the Belt and Road initiatives according to the requirements set out in the Vision and Actions on Jointly Building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (the “One Belt, One Road” Initiative). At present, participating projects of Jiangsu, Fujian, Shanghai and Sichuan have basically come together. When these projects get off the ground, Chinese enterprises’ "going out" is set to gain further momentum.
The official plan of Belt and Road was released at the end of March in which China said it will join other countries to work out relevant timetables and roadmaps, and align national development programmes and regional cooperation plans. According to the Visions and Actions, the initiative chiefly focuses on external proposals, while inside China, there will be an internal plan, which will be unveiled soon. The National Development and Reform Commission has said special arrangements will be made to coordinate the regional plans and the internal plan will entail unified consideration and even unified planning because it involves connectivity across various regions.
According to the Visions and Actions, 18 mainland provinces and autonomous regions have been named as key locations earmarked for involvement in the Belt and Road initiatives. Many areas are currently working on plans to participate in accordance with the requirements.
Currently, Jiangsu has completed its internal plan, and will soon submit it to the central government for approval, while Guangdong, Fujian, Shanghai and Sichuan have already drafted the broad strokes of their plan.
Shanghai is poised to become the front-runner for the plan via building trade networks, participating in the setting of investment and trade standards and attracting international investment and trade service institutions.
Fujian aims to be a pilot location for the Maritime Silk Road initiative by supporting the development of Quanzhou and will accelerate the construction of major infrastructure projects enhancing land and sea connectivity.
Guangdong has already initiated a number of projects related to the Belt and Road initiatives, with dozens of them within three years in the initial stage alone.
Meanwhile, Sichuan’s three-year Belt and Road action plan consists of three initiatives. First, identify and work with 20 countries that can bring major industrial and trade advantages to Sichuan, Second, select 50 major two-way investment projects for targeted monitoring and heavy promotion. Third, out of the 10,000 foreign trade enterprises in Sichuan, identify 100 key enterprises having better trade and investment foundation along the Belt and Road for guidance and demonstration purposes.