BRI’ and 14th NPC & CPPCC | By Dr Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan


BRI’ and 14th NPC & CPPCC

During different media sessions in the ongoing 14th National people’s Congress (NPC) and National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) One Belt One Road Initiative (BRI) remained one of the main topics which vividly reflected its global importance, strategic scope and utility for achieving the desired goals of world class infrastructure development, construction of economic corridors, seaports and last but not least immense socio-economic integration.

According to the Chinese policy makers, more than 151 countries, 35 international organizations and 220 cooperation documents have already joined and signed under the flagship project of the BRI which is still on increasing by each passing day. It covers two-thirds of the world’s population and 40 percent of global GDP which is further getting momentum with the passage of time. It will impact 0.7 percent to global real income till 2030 which may be further enhanced up to 1 percent.

According to estimates from the World Bank, transportation infrastructure projects under the BRI, if fully implemented, are expected to generate $1.6 trillion in benefits annually by 2030 accounting for 1.3 percent of global GDP. Of these benefits, 90 percent will go to partner countries, with low-income and lower-middle-income countries being the biggest beneficiaries.

Moreover, the BRI mega projects of regional as well as trans-regional projects will reduce shipment time between 1.2 and 2.5 percent, leading to reduction of aggregate trade costs between 1.1 and 2.2 percent. For Belt and Road economies, the change in shipment times and trade costs will range between 1.7 and 3.2 percent and 1.5 and 2.8 percent, respectively.

It is estimated that BRI related investments can contribute to lifting 8.7 million people from extreme poverty and 34 million from moderate poverty at the global level. In this regard, under baseline conditions the percentage of people living in extreme poverty, with less than PPP$1.90 a day, is projected to decline from 10.1 percent in 2015 to 5.2 percent by 2030.

Hopefully, with immense infrastructure investments the BRI can additionally lift from extreme poverty up to 8.7 million people. These benefits extend to both BRI and non BRI countries: 5.1 million from BRI area and 3.7 million from non BRI countries.

To promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, China has carried out a number of projects to boost connectivity and industrial capacity cooperation.

The Government Work Report 2022-2023 reveals that trade between China and countries along the BRI has reached an annual increase of 13.4 percent. Moreover, with the six free trade agreements that were newly concluded or upgraded, China’s trade share with its BRI member countries its trade has increased to 35 percent of its total trade volume from 26 percent.

During these media interactive sessions the western journalists have internationally raised questions about the alleged role of so-called BRI debt trap diplomacy.  In this context, the policy makers of China strongly rejected accusations about the “debt-trap diplomacy” and has insisted that on the contrary, African nations have reaped a great deal of benefits from the infrastructure projects as part of its BRI.

Actually, African economies were weighed down by a whooping external debt owed to multilateral financial institutions and commercial creditors, and not China. Citing statistics from a World Bank (WB) report, the Chinese spokesman Wao Wang cleared the air around the hyped claims and maintained that nearly three-quarters of Africa’s external debt was actually owed to the multilateral institutions and commercial creditors, whereas Beijing was working to ease Africa’s debt burden.

Moreover, China never attaches any political strings or seeks any self-seeking political gains Wang asserted and added that the country has actively participated in the debt service suspension initiative under the G20.

He added that the debt deferral amount China has contributed is larger than that of any other G20 member.

According to Debt Justice, a UK-based campaigning organisation, just 12 percent of African governments’ external debt is owed to Chinese lenders compared to 35 percent owed to Western private lenders, according to the calculations based on World Bank data.

It has burst the false, fake and fictional propaganda of the western mass media about so-called debt trap diplomacy associated with the BRI. Rather it has been an ideal platform of diplomacy, dialogue and development. It has been icon of positivity, productivity, participation, progress and prosperity since its beginning in 2013 in the world.

To conclude, the famous China’s Two Sessions are going on in its capital.  During the 14th National people’s Congress (NPC) Premier Li Keqiang presented Government’s Work Report and set GDP target as 5 percent during 2023 which higher than all the regional countries, US and the EU alike. Inflation and CPI set at 5.5 percent. China also exceeded its 2022 target of creating over 11 million new urban jobs, adding 12.06 million last year.

Moreover, China’s annual foreign trade value increased by 7.7 percent from 2021, reaching 42.07 trillion yuan ($6.09 trillion) despite headwinds in demand, supply, and expectations.
The Chinese president while attending the 14th NPC and CPPCC sessions declared private economy as an important force for the Communist Party of China (CPC) to maintain long-term governance, and unite and lead the Chinese people in realizing the two centenary goals and great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

China has developed new forms of foreign trade, building 152 new integrated pilot zones for cross-border e-commerce and supporting the establishment of overseas warehouses which has already increased its exports. The China International Import Expo and the China Import and Export Fair, have delivered positive results. It has established 21 pilot free trade zones and made strides in the development of the Hainan Free Trade Port.

China has been pioneer of good governance and superior human values for the last 5000 years. Interestingly, China has been pursuing socio-economic development, human respect, environment and nature friendly policies to maintain qualitative life since long.

China’s Two Sessions have become icon of modern model of smart/good governance during which all major policies of macro-economy, strategic priorities of national politics, fund allocations of social development, debate on structural reforms, distribution of ministerial slots, approval of projects and last but not the least, critical review of the last years economic achievement and performance have been thoroughly discussed.

Expectations are very high that China’s economy will further pick up after the lifting of pandemic restrictions, providing a boost to the global economy which would be a good omen for the BRI development.

It is good news for China and the world as the Chinese economy is now expected to contribute a third of global growth this year and the coming years too.

Increase in GNP means more people’s funds for consumption. China’s growing economy is also an important source of global demand. Its economic rebalancing will create new opportunities for manufacturing exporters. China is a growing contribution in other developing economies through trade, investment, and ideas.

The success of ongoing Two Sessions and setting of high targets of GDP, GNP, LSM, exports, investments and social development have further brightened the scope and utility of the BRI.