Past experience over the five-plus years since the proposal of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has fully demonstrated that the BRI has revitalised the ancient Silk Road, enhanced connectivity and people-to-people exchanges around the world, and extensively benefited the countries involved in the initiative.
The construction of the BRI has intensified the links across the Eurasian continent, boosted the land-sea connection and free trade among East Asia, Central Asia, and Europe, and made China an important cooperation partner of many developing countries.
The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Silk Road Fund initiated by the country have bolstered win-win cooperation among en-route countries and played important roles in facilitating the construction of the BRI.
China-Latin America cooperation has been beefed up in recent years. China has signed free trade agreements with a number of Latin American countries including Chile, Peru, and Costa Rica, enabling the Latin American products to enter Chinese market easier.
China is now the largest foreign investor of Bolivia, Ecuador, and Venezuela, and the biggest trading partner of Brazil, Chile, Peru, and Uruguay.
China’s growing consumption demands have resulted in rising imports of agricultural products from the Latin American region year after year.
In 2018, the Latin American region had witnessed an increase of 24.2 percent in its exports to China, making China a key engine propelling export growth of the region.
Though living at another side of the world, Latin American people bear enormous enthusiasm for the Chinese language and culture.
In Medellin, the second largest city of Colombia, two colleges filed applications simultaneously for establishment of Confucius Institute, while in Chile, the Santo Tomas University offered classes in 18 cities nationwide after setting up Confucius Institute.
So far, China has established 40 Confucius Institutes and multiple Confucius classrooms in 21 Latin American countries, offering Chinese language and culture education to more than 100,000 students in total.
Various contests, exhibitions, tours of arts groups, and other exchange activities held by Confucius Institutes have helped people in Latin America get better knowledge of the Chinese culture.
Over the past few years, the China-Peru cooperation on BRI collaboration has served as a model for cooperation in Latin American region.
China is now Peru’s largest source of imports, biggest export destination, and largest trading partner. The two countries have sealed a number of cooperation documents such as Peru-China Free Trade Agreement and joint action plan for cooperation in 2016-2021, which have further reinforced their long-existing friendly cooperation.
As a major destination of Peru’s exports in the Asian market, China has been witnessing continuously increasing agricultural imports like avocados, mango, and grapes from Peru.
The investments in various fields by Chinese enterprises in Peru under the framework of BRI have been helpful in advancing infrastructure construction, boosting Peru’s connectivity with the rest of the world, increasing tax revenue, creating jobs, and accelerating economic growth.
By the end of 2018, the Peruvian subsidiary of China’s steel company Shougang Group had paid Peruvian government an accumulative amount of $1.52 billion tax, purchased a total of $1.43 billion worth of local goods, and created about 5,000 jobs for local people.
I’ve felt that the BRI has brought all-around and multi-layered benefits to the world.