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Belt and Road Trade Booms While U.S. ‘Growth’ Disappears

April 28, 2017 (EIRNS)—China’s Commerce Ministry is preparing a report on Belt and Road economic activity for the May 14-15 Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, and Xinhua reported today that results are impressive.

America’s Commerce Department also reported today: A dismal 0.7% annual rate of Gross Domestic Product growth in the first quarter.

Xinhua said, "Goods trade between China and Belt and Road countries surged 26.2%" in the first quarter of 2017 from a year earlier,

"to more than 1.65 trillion yuan [about $240 billion] ... according to Sun Jiwen, spokesperson of the Ministry of Commerce (MOC). Chinese exports to Belt and Road countries totaled 937.6 billion yuan in the three months, up 15.8% from the same period last year, while imports from those countries jumped 42.9% to 717.7 billion yuan, Sun told a press briefing."

Belt and Road countries number about 60.

This dramatically contrasts not only with the relative lack of trade volumes of the Central Asian countries, in particular, in the past; but also with the zero-growth condition of overall world trade in real terms.

Reported Xinhua,

"781 new companies with investment from Belt and Road countries were set up in China with a total investment of 8.45 billion yuan, said Sun. Chinese enterprises signed 952 project contracts in 61 countries along the Belt and Road worth $22.27 billion in the Jan.-March period."

Sun cited far-flung ongoing overseas infrastructure projects such as the China-Belarus Industrial Park and the Nairobi-Mombasa railway.

Meanwhile the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and World Bank, which have co-financed five projects, signed a new cooperation agreement during the International Monetary Fund/World Bank annual meetings April 23. Having built power generation in Pakistan, a natural gas pipeline in Azerbaijan, and slum upgrading, dams, and regional infrastructure development in Indonesia, they are now planning 2017-18 projects.

AIIB’s likely next project is a new airport in Łódź, central Poland, with surrounding rail transport and power infrastructure. This is a Polish government priority; Prime Minister Beata Szydło is going to the Beijing Forum May 14-15 intending to sign it.