BRI by no means a debt trap for Pakistan: officials


BEIJING: The Belt and Road initiative by no means a debt trap in case of Pakistan or any other member country, official sources said on Thursday.

In fact, it deepens strategic mutual trust among the countries along the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and helps them to put their economy in a better position.

Since the launching of the initiative, the Chinese government has made great efforts to build a community with a shared future for humankind in order to achieve shared growth through cooperation, which has been praised by the international community.

Also, with more countries accepting the concept of the initiative, it is gaining more and more partners and prompting some international organizations to laud its mission and aim.

According to the sources, the Belt and Road Initiative promotes win-win cooperation and common development. To this end, the first Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held in Beijing in May 2017 fostered the building of a more open and efficient international cooperation platform. And owing to the initiative, China’s trade with and investment in the countries along the two routes have grown significantly.

Notably, China has become an important trade partner of many countries along the routes. For example, the trade volume of China with countries along the Belt and Road was close to $1.3 trillion in 2018, up 16.3 per cent year-on-year, with exports increasing to $705 billion and imports rising to $563 billion.

Besides, according to a study conducted by Euler Hermes, a Paris-based credit insurance company, China’s trade volume with other countries will increase by $117 billion this year, with exports increasing by $56 billion and $61 billion of commodities imported from about 80 countries being added to the total volume.

Last year, Chinese companies made a non-financial direct investment of $15.64 billion in 56 countries along the Belt and Road, an increase of 8.9 per cent, which accounted for 13 per cent of China’s total non-FDI.

The recipient countries included Pakistan. There is no relation between the debt problems of some countries along the routes and the major BRI construction projects.

On the contrary, China’s investment and promotion of the BRI have yielded tangible benefits to the countries along the routes.

Which means the initiative is anything but a debt trap. As to the speculation over a debt trap, vested interests with malicious intentions are spreading canards to drive a wedge between China and other countries.