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APEC Interested in B&R Initiative

APEC Interested in B&R InitiativeAPEC Interested in B&R Initiative

Senior officials from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation have shown interest in the Belt and Road Initiative, describing it as positive.

"We were very interested in hearing about the initiative with some briefings by Chinese officials last week," Alan Bollard, executive director of the APEC secretariat, told Xinhua on the sidelines of the 23rd APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT23) Meeting in Hanoi on Saturday.

"It is a very big project, which is different from a trade agreement so we see it as a whole series of infrastructure projects and economic connectivity. The economic connectivity part is much in line with APEC's connectivity blueprint. It's interesting to see what it can produce," said Bollard.

Sharing the same view, Denis Hew, director of the APEC Policy Support Unit, told Xinhua, "I see 'Belt and Road' as a chance of improving connectivity. The initiative shares many common interests with APEC as APEC adopted a blueprint a few years ago and the implementation is still ongoing."

Noting that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations also has a master plan on connectivity, Hew said the Asia-Pacific region "has a big infrastructure gap, like it needs some $800 to 900 billion in infrastructure development every year."

Hew concluded that "Any initiative like 'Belt and Road' that helps support the regional connectivity is a positive initiative."

More of the growth is not contributed from the traditional industries but more from services, Bollard said. APEC members "have much interest in an electronic economy so we are looking for some new generation of growth."

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