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We know that this year marks the 8th anniversary of the “Belt and Road” initiative. Over the past eight years, the economic and trade relations between China and the BRI countries have grown increasingly close, especially when the pandemic is spreading. Could you introduce the crucial changes on that respect? As a new mode of trade, how does the Silk Road e-commerce programs progress?(2021-09-02)

In 2013, President Xi Jinping proposed the joint construction of the “Belt and Road” initiative, which aims to carry forward the Silk Road spirits, jointly build an open cooperation platform, and provide new impetus for joint cooperation and development. Over the past eight years, the “Belt and Road” economic and trade cooperation has come a long way with rich fruits --trade with fewer hurdles, broader investment cooperation, more cooperation projects fulfilled, as well as sound mechanisms and platforms. Since the outbreak of the Covid-19, the BRI countries have joined hands to overcome the difficulties and jointly promoted the steady progress of economic and trade cooperation, contributing to anti-pandemic cooperation and economic recovery.

Over the past eight years, upholding the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, bilateral investment between China and other BRI countries has developed vigorously, and trilateral and multilateral cooperation are on a fast track. From 2013 to 2020, China’s cumulative direct investment in BRI countries hit 136 billion U.S. dollars, and 27,000 enterprises from BRI countries have made their presence in China with a cumulative actual investment of about 60 billion U.S. dollars.

Over the past eight years, we have upheld open, green and clean cooperation. From 2013 to 2020, China’s total trade in goods with countries along the Belt and Road exceeded US$9.2 trillion. Our trade volume has maintained expansion; annual trade volume climbed from US$1 trillion to US$1.4 trillion, and the share of other Belt and Road countries in China’s foreign trade increased by 4.1 percentage points. A greater variety of products from these countries has become popular among Chinese customers. New trade forms and models has grown at a faster pace, characterized by cross-border e-commerce, market procurement trade and overseas warehouses. Major trade corridors have played a growingly significant role, with China-Europe Railway Express and the New International Land-Sea Corridor connecting more and more countries and regions. Trade liberalization and facilitation has constantly improved; by far, China has signed seven free-trade agreements with 13 Belt and Road countries. Trade platforms have been further diversified, and the role of major exhibitions including the CIIE, Canton Fair, CIFTIS, and Hainan Expo have become ever more prominent.

Over the past eight years, we have been committed to high-standard and sustainable cooperation targets that benefit people’s lives. China and countries along the Belt and Road have pushed forward green projects and projects to improve people’s wellbeing. In overseas economic and trade cooperation zones in these countries, Chinese enterprises have paid more than US$4.4 billion in tax and created 330,000 jobs.

As for Silk Road e-commerce, China has established bilateral e-commerce cooperation mechanism with 22 countries, for cooperation in policy exchange, planning coordination, industry promotion, subnational cooperation, capacity building and other topics across various areas at multiple levels, to foster a favorable environment for e-commerce in Belt and Road countries. Since last year, China and its Silk Road e-commerce partners have been jointly responding to the challenges posed by Covid-19, by seeking new ways and exploring new areas of cooperation such as Silk Road e-commerce cloud lectures and the popular Silk Road country product section of the “Brand and Quality Online Shopping Festival”, deepening our cooperation with solid progress. Meanwhile, China has been promoting an open, transparent and mutually beneficial system of e-commerce rules to create a sound environment for shared e-commerce development. All this has made Silk Road e-commerce a new highlight in expanding trade and economic cooperation and a new driver for Belt and Road cooperation.

China stands ready to work with relevant countries to uphold openness and inclusiveness, advance connectivity and maintain the significant role of Belt and Road cooperation in addressing global crises and achieving long-term development.

Thank you.