nal proportions. But nothing can obliterate the tangible benefits the development initiative has brought. In less than six
years, the nascent Belt and Road are already changing development landscapes in multiple places and dime
nsions. Thanks to the initiative, East Africa has seen its first expressway, the Maldives its first cross-sea bridge, Belar
us its own car-manufacturing enterprise, and landlocked Kazakhstan finally has access to the sea.
And while China-Cambodia trade may not look to be in perfect balan
ce at this point, Belt and Road cooperation between the two neighbors is laying a solid fo
undation for the latter’s future progress. Take the Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone for instance. An exem
plary project under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, it is expected to host 300 enterprises, create 100,0
00 industrial jobs, and serve as a resident-friendly new community housing 200,000 people.
A slew of new policies aimed at encouraging consumption
in key sectors will be unveiled soon, China Securities Journal reported.
rcent year-on-year to 9.78 trillion yuan ($1.46 trillion) in the January-M
arch period, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). In March alone, retail sales went up 8.7 pe
rcent to 3.17 trillion yuan, quickening from the 8.2-percent rise seen in the first two months.
In recent years, the government has, on the one hand, frequently intro
duced policies to promote opening-up, increase import and improve consumer welfare. On
the other hand, it has reduced and scrapped import tariffs on some consumer goo
ds. This has played an active role in consumption, Lian Ping, chief economist at Bank of Comm
unication said, adding that consumption still is the key driver for economic growth.
fivefold in the past few years, which helps reduce trade disparities with developed
economies. He called on all CEE nations to take the opportunity to deepen economic and trade cooperation with China.
Zhong Shan, minister of commerce, said over 1,000 people participated, the most since the event started nine yea
rs ago. “It demonstrates the increasing confidence in the forum and cooperation with China at large,” he said.
In recent years, China’s trade with CEE nations has seen rapid growth. According to the Ministry
of Commerce, China’s imports from the countries have risen by 24.6 percent to $23 billion. Chinese compan
ies have invested over $10 billion in CEE nations, which in turn have injected more than $1.5 billion into China,
focusing on machinery, auto components, the chemical industry, financing and environmental protection.
After the forum, Li and Plenkovic attended an exhibition of Chin
a-CEEC education cooperation and a dialogue mechanism to boost cooperation among small an
d medium-sized enterprises from both sides. Before leaving for Beijing, Li also had separate
ent of the Belt and Road Initiative, are boosted by China and Azerbaijan
via linking people of the two countries in cultural exchange, education, human
itarian dialogue and tourism cooperation. China and Azerbaijan signed a memorandum of understanding to stim
ulate tourism between the two countries. “Data from 2018 shows 15,000 Chinese tourists visited Azerbaijan last year, w
hich is not enough of course, and we aim to do more to attract more visitors in the coming years,” Hajiyev said.
He also highlighted education exchanges between the two countries, as China has sent students to study language in Azerba
ijan and viceAs Azerbaijan has a favorable political and geographic location, the country aims to become a tran
sport hub connecting Europe and Asia under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative. “The point of the transp
ortation network is to integrate it with the original countries,” Hajiyev said, adding Azerbaijan has built a network of transp
ortation including seaports, airports, railways and land roads.-versa. “We are looking forward to increase the numb
er of (students) because we see they can play the role of a humanitarian bridge between our countries.”