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ASEAN Expects to Gain From B&R Initiative

The Belt and Road Forum is scheduled for May 14-15 in Beijing.The Belt and Road Forum is scheduled for May 14-15 in Beijing.

Governmental officials, representatives of non-government organizations and media insiders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations recently expressed their expectations for more benefit to their countries from the Belt and Road Initiative, ahead of the upcoming Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.

The B&R Initiative, first proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road. It aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa through the ancient trading routes, benefiting  every country it reaches, Reuters reported.

The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation is scheduled for May 14-15 in Beijing, with heads of state of 28 countries and high-level officials attending.

Philippines is the rotating chair of ASEAN this year. Philippine Secretary of Finance Carlos Dominguez III said Philippines is making efforts to improve the level of trade between ASEAN and economies outside the bloc.

Dominguez stressed that the B&R Initiative would promote trade between ASEAN and China, the second largest economy in the world.

“China is the biggest country in this region. It is the second largest economy in the world. We have to deal with the reality. It’s a potentially good market for us. It’s a potentially good source of products for the Philippines,” said Dominguez.

Experts in Myanmar said the Belt and Road Initiative would help promote globalization as well as improve infrastructure in developing countries.

“The Belt and Road Initiative can promote regional economic development. It facilitates transport, boost tourism and increase jobs. It will also provide a platform for cultural exchange,” said U Sein Win Aung, president of the Myanmar-China Friendship Association.

China and Indonesia have pushed forward their cooperation on the construction of a high-speed railway linking Jakarta and Bandung.

In early April, the Indonesia-China joint venture company PT Kereta Cepat signed an EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) project with High-Speed Railway Contract Consortium, the project’s business operator and infrastructure provider. EPC projects are a common form of contractual arrangement in the construction industry.

The 142 km railway project, which is expected to be completed in three years, is the first in Indonesia as well as the first in Southeast Asia.

“The process for the high-speed train, I think is progressing very well. The target is also that we will be finalizing the loan with the China Development Bank. We still want to finish the high-speed railway Jakarta-Bandung by the end of 2019,” said Rini Soemarno, Indonesia’s minister of state owned enterprises.

 

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