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Minister Ma Hui Attends South Asia BRI Webinar Hosted by IoD London and the 48 Group Club

On 19 October, Minister Ma Hui attended a webinar on BRI Cooperation in South Asian Countries co-hosted by Institute of Director (IoD) and the 48 Group Club, where he delivered a speech. The event was joined by David Stringer- Lamarre, Chairman of IoD London, Stephen Perry, Chairman of the 48 Group Club, Rana Mitter, Director of the University of Oxford China Centre, Shafiq Shahzad, Trade & Investment Minister at Pakistan High Commission London, Dr Lakmini Mendis, Minister (Commercial) at the Sri Lankan High Commission London, and some 100 representatives from UK business community.

In his speech, Minister Ma said, it has been seven years since President Xi Jinping proposed the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2013. Thanks to the enthusiastic participation and full support of all parties, cooperation on the BRI has become deeper and more substantial over the past seven years. This initiative is playing an increasingly important role in promoting cooperation, prosperity, green growth and opportunities. Against the backdrop of COVID-19 pandemic, the BRI is also built into a road to health and to economic recovery.

China has made steady progress in enhancing BRI cooperation with South Asian countries based on the principles of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a BRI flagship project, has supplied one third of Pakistan’s demand for electricity, created 70,000 jobs and boosted Pakistan’s growth by one to two percentage points. There has been a close match between BRI and the vision of “Sri Lanka 2030”. Colombo Port City built by China and the Hambantota Port will serve as two major engines for the rapid economic development in Sri Lanka. Bangladesh is also an important partner for BRI cooperation. Chinese-built Padma Bridge will benefit more than 80 million people and is expected to boost annual GDP growth by 1.5 percentage points upon its completion. India, as one of the founding members of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), has awarded 18 out of the 95 projects approved by AIIB. The UK is a natural partner of China in building BRI. “We look forward to more active participation of British businesses in BRI cooperation, including cooperation in the third-party markets. It is our hope that they will seize the opportunities, leverage their strengths, and achieve win-win results for all,” said Minister Ma.

Minister Ma took questions regarding the role of BRI projects in achieving sustainable development in South Asian countries, transparent financing, and other issues.

Diplomats from Pakistan and Sri Lanka High Commissions said that BRI cooperation had hugely promoted the economic growth, social development, and people’s livelihood in their respective countries, and deepened the relationship between their countries and China. Other participants of the webinar shared their views on the BRI based on their own experience of exchanges with China and their professional expertise, saying that the BRI would bring profound changes to many developing countries and the world at large, which is of great significance to the development and prosperity of the world. The British government and companies should give full play to their strengths and deepen BRI cooperation with China, including cooperation in third-party market in South Asia.

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