CHENG Guoqiang Professor, Doctoral Supervisor of Tongji SEM
In the keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, President Xi Jinping stressed that going ahead, we should focus on priorities and project execution, move forward with results-oriented implementation, just like an architect refining the blueprint, and jointly promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation.
When presiding over a symposium in August 2018 that marked the fifth anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative, President Xi said that in advancing the initiative, we should transition from making high-level plans to intensive and meticulous implementation, so as to realize high-quality development, bring benefits to local people, and build a global community of shared future.
Then, how to jointly promote high-quality, high-standard, and high-level development of Belt and Road cooperation? What are the key priorities we need to focus on at present and in the future?
The first is to adhere to concept-led principle. The initiative of joint construction of “Belt and Road” is in line with the tide of history, the inherent demand of building a global community of shared future for mankind, and the aspiration and expectation of all parties for mutual benefit and common development. We need to further improve the concept of cooperation, build a broader global consensus, and lead and promote high-quality joint development of “Belt and Road”.
On one hand, we must always adhere to the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, and further encourage all parties to pool their wisdom, draw on each other’s strengths, engage in consultations on an equal basis, pursue joint development, and share responsibilities and benefits. As a new concept of international cooperation, extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits has reached broad consensus and has been written into documents from the United Nations, G20, APEC and other regional organizations. It provides important support for improving the global governance system and building a community of shared future for mankind.
On the other hand, we need to pursue open, green and clean cooperation, and stick to openness and inclusiveness. The Belt and Road is not an exclusive club; it aims to promote an open global economy. We shall adhere to green development, and may launch green infrastructure projects, make green investment and provide green financing to protect the Earth which we all call home. We shall never cross the moral principle and the legal red line in Belt and Road cooperation, but work together to foster a modern business environment which is corruption-free and efficient, jointly promoting high-quality, high-standard, and high-level development of Belt and Road cooperation.
The second is to focus on goal orientation. To jointly promote high-quality development of “Belt and Road” cooperation, we must adhere to the goals of high-standard construction, improving people’s lives, and sustainable development.
First, pursue high-standard construction. We will encourage participating companies to follow general international rules, standards and best practices in project development, operation, procurement and tendering and bidding. The laws and regulations of participating countries should also be respected
Second, improve people’s lives. We need to take a people-centered approach, give priority to poverty alleviation, job creation and improving people’s lives in project construction, production capacity cooperation, economic and trade investment to see that the joint pursuit of Belt and Road cooperation will deliver true benefits to the people of participating countries.
Third, promote sustainable development. We should follow a government-guided, business-led and market-driven approach for promotion of project cooperation. The concept of sustainable development should be integrated into all aspects of project selection, implementation and management to achieve commercial and fiscal sustainability of all projects.
The third is to intensify mechanism construction. We need to act in the spirit of multilateralism and promote the formation of a “trinity” international cooperation framework featuring bilateral cooperation, multilateral mechanisms and summit forum, with summit forum as the guide and multilateral and bilateral cooperation as the support, so as to provide guarantee for the high-quality joint development of “Belt and Road”.
First, we need to strengthen bilateral and third-party market cooperation, better align with economic development proposals and plans of countries and international organizations, and establish a multi-level, multi-channel, multi-dimensional and efficient communication and coordination mechanism to so as to build a global partnership of connectivity.
Second, under the precondition of sufficient and mature practice and exploration, we must gradually establish participation rules, management mode and dispute settlement mechanism to promote regulated management and institutionalized operation of “Belt and Road” cooperation on the basis of the UN Charter and the existing international rules, following the principle of “extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits”.
Third, we should give full play to the leading role of “Belt and Road” Forum for International Cooperation, building a comprehensive, authoritative and political multilateral cooperation and decision-making mechanism.
The fourth is to focus on key areas of cooperation. To jointly promote high-quality “Belt and Road” cooperation, we must focus on the infrastructure construction with high demand and willingness of all parties as well as the construction of soft investment environment, sparing no efforts to solve the key problems in the implementation of major projects, financial support, investment environment, innovative development, risk control and security guarantee etc.
First, we need to focus on the building of high-quality, sustainable, resilient, affordable, inclusive and accessible infrastructure. Meanwhile, weshould speed up the building of connectivity network and promote infrastructure-led development and industrial concentration.
Second, we need to play an active role in liberalizing and facilitating trade and investment, to build a high-standard free trade network, and to create a fair and non-discriminatory business environment.
Third, we need to build a diversified financing system and a multi-level capital market. We need to give full play to the role of the government, multilateral and bilateral policy-based financial institutions, to make active use of commercial financial resources, to explore ways of carrying out public-private cooperation and issuing infrastructure bonds, and to establish new mechanisms of fund raising.
Fourth, we need to implement an innovative development strategy, to deepen cooperation in cutting-edge areas such as smart manufacturing and digital economy, to jointly explore new technologies, new commercial activities and new models, and to explore new growth drivers and development paths.
The last priority is to deepen development cooperation. To jointly promote high-quality development of “Belt and Road” cooperation, we must adhere to the development orientation, deepen international development cooperation and create more development opportunities and space for developing countries.
First, we need to integrate the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals into “Belt and Road” cooperation, and to help developing countries to break development bottlenecks, so as to improve development conditions, create development opportunities and enhance development momentum.
Second, we need to promote south-south, north-south and tripartite cooperation, to actively explore effective models for international development cooperation in poverty reduction, food security, agriculture, health and other fields, and to make the “Belt and Road” a public platform for advancing global common development.
Third, we need to promote cultural exchanges, to implement more cooperation projects on people’s livelihood, and to promote mutual learning and sharing of development experience as a way to achieve common development.
On April 25-27, 2019, the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was held in Beijing. President Xi Jinping attended the opening ceremony and delivered a keynote speech. Professor Cheng Guoqiang of Tongji SEM was invited to attend the policy communication sub-forum of the summit and participate in the conference discussion. During the conference, Cheng was interviewed by CNR The Voice of China and published “Jointly Promoting High-quality Development of Belt and Road Cooperation” in Outlook Weekly of Xinhua News Agency. Up to now, the article has been viewed for more than 310,000 times.