Gu Xueming, a member of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), is interviewed ahead of the opening of the first session of the 14th CPPCC National Committee at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 4, 2023. (Photo/Xinhua)
The Belt and Road Initiative has created new growth points for global economic development and provided fresh opportunities for international cooperation, said Gu Xueming, a member of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, on Saturday.
Speaking ahead of the opening of the first session of the 14th CPPCC National Committee in Beijing, Gu, also President of the Beijing-based Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, said that the BRI has maintained strong momentum over the past decade.
The trade expert said that China has signed over 200 cooperation agreements with 151 countries and 32 international organizations, doubling its goods trade with countries involved in the initiative and is increasing its direct investment in their markets by 80 percent.
Citing an example of a Chinese company investing in and building a pharmaceutical factory in Mali, he said that with the production expansion of this plant, Mali has ended its dependence on imported drugs and significantly lowered market prices for products of this kind, while driving the growth of related industries.
The factory currently has a local employment rate of over 90 percent and exports drugs to eight neighboring countries, greatly alleviating the problem of the medicine shortage in West Africa.
China's trade in goods with the BRI-related economies doubled from $1.04 trillion (7.18 trillion yuan) in 2013 to $2.07 trillion in 2022, with an average annual growth rate of 8 percent, according to data released by the Ministry of Commerce earlier this week.
Two-way investments between China and countries and regions participating in the BRI exceeded $270 billion during the period, said the ministry.
Gu stressed that opening-up is China's basic national policy, and that the country has continuously made breakthroughs in institutional innovation through the development of pilot free trade zones.