Nations seek enhanced ties through new round of demonstration projects
China and France have recently signed a document on the list of the fourth-round demonstration projects of developing third-party market cooperation, marking the latest step in Beijing's bid to strengthen international cooperation.
The list includes seven projects worth over $1.7 billion, covering infrastructure, environmental protection, new energy and others. Many Chinese and French enterprises and financial institutions will participate in the projects in areas including Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, the National Development and Reform Commission said in a statement on Monday.
The country's top economic regulator said the forms of cooperation will include joint investment, as well as Chinese engineering procurement and general construction contracting and French investment and development, which will have a positive effect on economic and social development in third-party markets.
The commission said companies from both sides are highly complementary, showing great potential and broad prospects.
"French enterprises have unique advantages in fields including advanced manufacturing, environmental protection and engineering construction while Chinese companies have rich experience in fields such as infrastructure construction, energy, equipment manufacturing and the internet," the NDRC said in the statement.
In the next step, the NDRC said it will work closely with the Treasury of France to actively build platforms and create favorable conditions for third-party market cooperation between enterprises from both sides.
France is the first country to establish a third-party market cooperation mechanism with China. During Premier Li Keqiang's visit to France in June 2015, the two countries issued a Sino-French joint statement on third-party market cooperation.
Experts said third-party market cooperation effectively integrates China's competitive production capacity and developed countries' advanced technologies with the rising development demand of developing countries, which has become a key part of the Belt and Road Initiative and will further strengthen international cooperation.
As of January, China had signed more than 200 cooperation documents with 147 countries and 32 international organizations to jointly enhance Belt and Road cooperation, and it has been actively promoting the third-party cooperation model, the NDRC said.
So far, China has signed documents on third-party market cooperation with several countries including France, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom.
Under the innovative third-party market cooperation model, Chinese enterprises and their peers in related countries could jointly develop projects in a third country involved in the BRI, said Liu Huaqin, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.
Liu said in an article published in China Forex that the model can connect China's advantage in manufacturing and developed countries' technological and financial advantages with the third-party's vast development demand.
To better promote the third-party market cooperation model, Liu said more efforts are needed to promote both project cooperation and investment mechanisms, which will help offer a favorable institutional environment for enterprises participating in the cooperation arrangement.
Liu suggests while Chinese enterprises should have a better understanding of local rules, the government should establish an effective investment dispute-resolution mechanism and build a multilevel outbound investment information service platform.