China promotes free trade with summit in Beijing on Silk Road plan
30 different countries have just ended a two-day summit in Beijing on China's new Silk Road plan. China plus 29 other countries reaffirmed commitment to build open economies and to develop free and inclusive trade under China's Belt and Road initiative.
|The group also agreed that they would foster a rules-based, non-discriminatory trading system with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at its core. The group oppose protectionism according to a news communique signed by the leaders. The communique emphasized the importance of expanding investment and trade on a level playing field. President Xi-Jinping said at the closing of the event: "It is our hope through the Belt and Road development, we will unleash new economic forces for global growth, build new platforms for global development, and rebalance economic globalization so mankind will move closer to a community of common destiny."|
The coverage area of the initiative is primarily Asia and Europe, encompassing around 60 countries. Oceania and East Africa are also included. Anticipated cumulative investment over an indefinite timescale is variously put at US$4 trillion or US$8 trillion. One Belt, One Road has been contrasted with the two U.S.-centric trading arrangements, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.[6The project is also described in a recent Digital Journal article. Not many western leaders attended with the U.S. sending a senior White House adviser but several European PMs attended. Human Rights Watch raised concerns over the treatment of people within the new Silk Road route through Central Asia as it involves nations with poor human rights records. It also expressed the same concerns for parts of the route within the Xinjiang region in China where the Chinese were said to have implemented repression and heightened surveillance to prevent unrest.