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BRI could better foster economic integration: Official

Washington, Oct 15 (IANS) The Belt and Road Initiative could help deepen international cooperation in development and faster economic integration in the region, a Chinese official said.

“There are many profound changes under development now in the world. Interests of all countries are increasingly conversed. We are also facing problems in global development and economic globalisation,” China’s Finance Ministry Vice Minister Shi Yaobin said here during the International Monetary Fund (IMF)/World Bank annual meetings.

Shi told Xinhua in an interview that this required international communities to strengthen cooperation because a country alone cannot solve these problems.

“This is why China proposed the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).”

The BRI is an open and inclusive platform, and cooperation is one of the best ways to deliver fruits under the initiative, according to the official.

Shi said the initiative is to promote infrastructure investment, facilitate trade and investment, and coordinate development strategies in the region.

According to early estimate of the World Bank, the development of BRI will likely influence the foreign direct investment activity in developing East Asia and Pacific region because the initiative involves more than 60 countries and a combined inward FDI stock of around 6 trillion U.S. dollars.

The World Bank estimates also showed that trade in the BRI region would increase 13 per cent at most because the BRI will likely foster infrastructure connectivity in the region and reduce trade time by 26 per cent on an average.

Talking about cooperation with the World Bank, Shi said that World Bank has been a strong supporter for the BRI because the initiative has overlaps with its development business in the region.

Shi said the World Bank’s support sets an example for other multilateral development banks (MDBs) in view of its leading role in the area.

The official added that cooperation with the World Bank could mobilise participation of more MDBs, private sectors and other funding sources, and create all-win solutions.

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