International business leaders and politicians are encouraged by the Belt & Road initiative’s global reach.
Roee Ruttenberg spoke to delegates and business leaders, after the first day of meetings.
Belt & Road Initiative’s Global ReachInternational business leaders and politicians are encouraged by the Belt & Road initiative’s global reach. Roee Ruttenberg spoke to delegates and business leaders, after the first day of meetings.
People like Wang Cheng. He’s a top executive from China’s TCL electronics. Currently, TCL’s foreign sales make up half of all its business. Wang expects that number to soar to more than 80% in the coming years, thanks to the initiative.
“The most impressive word for me is connectivity. This is the word for globalization. You close the door, you isolate and can have no future. So TCL as the top TV maker, electronic maker, in China – we should be part of globalization,” Wang Cheng said.
“We used to put more focus on Europe and the US. Now the Belt and Road Initiative provides the strategy and financial support, and also many opportunities, to focus on Africa and the rest of Asia,” Wanda Group Chairman Wang Jianlin said.
“I think the Belt and Road initiative will play a very important role for China and for its neighboring countries. It will facilitate economic cooperation and cultural exchanges on the global stage,” Tajikistan delegate Kalon Damdorov said.
One Egyptian delegate said delays are often local – affecting projects like his country’s Sumed pipeline. China, he says, is changing that.
“Instead of giving pledges only, what they’re doing is going immediately into projects. So this way the pipeline moves very fast,” Egyptian delegate Alaa Ezz said.
Just hours before President Xi’s speech, nearly a dozen laborers working on the China-Pakistan corridor came under attack – a reminder of the security challenges facing this initiative.
“Everybody has to make joint efforts, I think we are doing everything, whatever we can, and I will take more measures are more extraordinary measures to overcome these difficulties,” Pakistani Special Envoy for CPEC Zafaruddin Mahmood said.
One American delegate, who works on health issues , said the US government was there to listen. He also said there are a lot of areas where Washington could help the Belt and Road.
Of course, the U.S. is not a participant in the initiative. But, it does have a high-level delegation attending. Meaning, the forum’s reach may actually go much further down the Road than it initially intended.