Executive Intelligence Review


Belt and Road Has Created a Trade Boom

May 7, 2018 (EIRNS)—A new report by China’s State Information Center shows that goods trade between China and countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is booming and nearly balanced.

According to Xinhua May 7, the Center reports that total trade with 71 countries considered part of the BRI was up 13.4% in 2017 over 2016, at $1.45 trillion, now doubling the total trade between the United States and China. Moreover it is nearly in balance: $666 billion equivalent in imports by China (39% of China’s total imports by value), and $775 billion in exports from China.

The rate of growth of imports by China from these 71 countries is particularly rapid, 20% a year; that of exports from China, 8.5% a year. And China’s trade with Central Asia countries grew at the fastest rate in 2017, followed by trade with Eastern Europe. So much for the wisdom peddled by MERICS, RIIA/Chatham House, etc. that the Central and Eastern European countries and Central Asian countries joining the New Silk Road are “getting little from it so far except debt.”

The Center reported China’s largest category of exports to Belt and Road countries is that of mechanical and electrical products, which is also a large category of its imports from them, along with fossil fuels. This is obviously a partial idea, but clearly it is mutually beneficial trade. The majority of the trade was by private companies on the Chinese side.