China forges ahead with Belt & Road Initiative, despite global economic uncertainty

China forges ahead with Belt & Road Initiative, despite global economic uncertainty

23/11/18

Indira Zahra, Business and Policy Intern

Chinese President Xi Jinping is visiting several countries in an effort to further integrate China into the global economy. This week China and the Philippines agreed to upgrade their bilateral ties, which included a signed memorandum of understanding to jointly advance the Belt and Road construction, Xinhua reports. Seen as a new chapter in China-Philippines relations, President Xi’s visit to the Philippines was the first by a Chinese head of state in thirteen years. He will also visit Madrid next week to commemorate the 40thanniversary of China-Spain relations, and is expected to push for Spain to endorse the BRI as a way to consolidate China’s ties with Europe, South China Morning Post reports.

The Spain visit comes before the planned meeting with US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Argentina. The meeting is being held in order to diffuse trade tensions between the two parties; trade tenions which have seen stock markets suffer around the world. The Financial Times reported that European stock markets were particularly affected, with the Stoxx 600 Europe down 0.7 per cent, while London’s FTSE 100 lost 1.3 per cent. Although there were global uncertainties,“there was broad agreement that at present, the risks to growth could still be considered to be balanced overall.”

This year marks the fifth anniversary of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the country’s ambitious strategy to link China with Africa, Asia and Europe through a trade and infrastructure network. Despite concerns over the outlook of global economic growth amid the US- China trade war, trade between China and Belt and Road countries continues to increase, exceeding US$5 trillion and outward direct investment surpassing US$60 billion, the Straits Times reports.