China’s tempting economic sphere
Taiwan and the BRI
During the Belt and Road Initiative development forum hosted by Xiamen University in China, cross-strait scholars suggested Taiwan actively integrate itself into the initiative. China's BRI has created a new cooperation platform on a global scale and Taiwan should not miss out on joining and earning a share of the vast advantages.
Argentina and the AIIB
Jin Liqun, President of the AIIB, commented on the AIIB's interest in Argentina. There are currently seven South American countries interested in joining the AIIB, Argentina is the latest to enter negotiations with the bank. Jin Liquin suggested that the AIIB could invest a possible 300 to 500 million USD in Argentina if it's parliament would ratify the proposition to join and the government would pay the initial installment necessary to join the bank.
The BRI presents economic opportunities
Singapore praises the BRI
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore praised China's BRI as a focal point of Singapore's relationship with China in an interview with Chinese media. Specifically, Lee sees four areas where the Belt and Road can benefit Singapore: infrastructure connectivity, financial connectivity, joint collaboration, and cross-border commercial dispute resolution. Singapore is a major global financial center and one of the largest offshore centers for Chinese currency and capital, and has had strong economic and cultural ties to China for many years. As the BRI continues to advance into Southeast Asia, Singapore is optimistic about the Initiative's role in promoting infrastructure development and a stronger regional architecture.
Austria is optimistic
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz expressed optimistic views about China's Belt and Road Initiative, particularly with regards to facilitating stronger ties between Austria and China. Specifically, Kurz saw opportunities in transportation, energy, telecommunications, sustainable technologies, rural development, financial services, and e-commerce. The Chancellor's comments come in anticipation of an upcoming meeting in China between Austrian and Chinese leaders, as the two countries are expected to sign numerous agreements that would further boost bilateral relations. As an observer state in the "16+1 cooperation framework," a multilateral platform between China and Eastern European countries, as well as a member of the European Union, Austria has the potential to play a role in expanding trans-regional ties between China and Europe.
The Asian Development Bank
Papua New Guinea
The ADB is granting 1 million USD to Papua New Guinea for recovery efforts following a February 7.5 magnitude earthquake. The funds will be used to rebuild services and restore livelihoods.
The ADB has proposed an economic corridor to address regional economic imbalances in Sri Lanka. The proposed Colombo-Trincomalee Economic Corridor (CTEC) would connect the east and west coasts. Infrastructure investments along the corridor will help expand current industries, like apparel and rubber, and identify new sectors.
ADB President Takehiko Nakao attended the 21st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Finance Ministers' and Central Bank Governors' Meeting in Singapore to discuss how the ADB can support the region's infrastructure and financial technology. He emphasized how effective infrastructure projects are needed to continue the region's recent growth, and that fintech can be used to enhance financial inclusion and capabilities.
ADB is supporting the establishment of a national single window (NSW) system in the Maldives to streamline and enhance trade. The system will ease procedures between the private sector and border control agencies. Through the usage of communication technology, the system will allow for easier standardization, border control, and will promote information transparency.
Financing for a 90 MW geothermal plant in Rantau Dedap, Indonesia, was closed with a total of 540 million USD in loans acquired for the project. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) guaranteed approximately 175.3 million USD of the total loan amount. The ADB will also administer another loan from the Clean Technology Fund for the first phase of the project, which aims to produce around 86 MW of capacity.
Latin America and China
The Bolivian Space Agency claims that its satellite, the Tupac Katari, has generated approximately 77 billion USD since its commercial phase began in April 2014. The China Development Bank financed 85 percent of the 302 million USD needed to complete the project. The Bolivian government intends to launch a second telecommunications satellite in 2021 with an estimated cost of 250 million USD, although financing options have yet to be reported.
Trade dispute affects Latin America
The trade dispute between the United States and China puts Latin America in an uneasy position. Countries in the region are being forced to side with either the US or China. Latin American countries sway with changing US trade and immigration policies. Many countries are increasingly looking to China, likely because Chinese foreign direct investment in Latin America has increased by 70 billion USD since 2012.
Poverty and the “petroyuan”
Alleviating poverty in China
The China Development Bank stated its intention to offer 63.8 billion USD to alleviate poverty in China. The bank will fund projects focusing on infrastructure development, relocation of poor residents, supporting local industries, and improving education and health care in poverty-stricken regions. The Chinese government claims that more than 68.5 million rural residents emerged from poverty between the end of 2012 and end of 2017.
The Global Times, a Chinese state-run news agency, ran an editorial suggesting that the 'petroyuan' could dethrone the US dollar as the global reserve currency. China is advancing many projects to promote this idea as a possible reality, including as the BRI. While the US dollar and oil are known to coincide, coining the term the 'petrodollar,' the launch of the 'petroyuan' could change global perspectives on oil transactions, since China is the largest importer of oil in the world.
Officials from Japan, the US and India, have started discussing the joint implementation of infrastructure development for developing countries in the Indo-Pacific region. The plan will provide capital investment through businesses and government-affiliated financial institutions in order to meet the developmental needs of the Indo-Pacific region. These discussions can be seen as a response to issues raised about the AIIB, and the BRI, especially in regards to transparency and responsible lending.