What is the Belt and Road Initiative?

One Belt One Road

It’s the oldest overland trade route in the world, a network dating back to the Fifth century B.C.

Stretching from China right through Central Asia to Europe’s borders, the Silk Road transported everything from spices to gunpowder — and of course, silk — between East and West.

Now China’s President Xi Jinping is bringing it into the 21st century under the name: “Belt and Road Initiative”.

CGTN’s Owen Fairclough reports:

Bye, bye camels, hello trains capable of transporting Chinese-made goods, such as laptops, 12,000 kilometers to Germany. This will be faster than shipping by sea.

But maritime trade is also a big part of the Belt and Road Initiative, linking key ports in Asia, Europe and Africa.

While the maritime route already hosts much of the world’s cargo, its overland counterpart passes through some of the world’s most remote regions.

So, the challenge for China and its partners is to create the infrastructure to support this 21st century superhighway, while reducing prohibitive import and export tariffs so East and West can do more business with each other.