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Event Recap: Cooperation Opportunities under China's Belt and Road Initiative

20 May 2016

ACBC Victoria welcomed Dr Xiang Junyong, Vice Director of the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University, on Friday 20 May to discuss cooperation opportunities under China’s One Belt One Road initiative.

Dr Xiang began by characterising the trade and business relationship between Australia and China, spoke of the One Belt One Road initiative itself and then delineated cooperation opportunities for Australia and China in light of the policy. Trade flows between Australia and China have been growing since 2005. Moreover the intensity of the trade, according to trade intensity indices, has also been rising. This can now be more easily built upon as the entry into force of the ChAFTA lays a historic foundation for the next phase of Australia’s economic relationship with China – allowing businesses to advance strong, complementary trade and investment links.

Into this mix comes the One Belt One Road (OBOR) Initiative. Introduced by President Xi Jinping in 2013, the economic belt along the Silk Road and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road will accelerate the process of infrastructure construction and connectivity for countries along the route. Priorities of the initiative include policy coordination between governments, facilities connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and the formation of people-to-people bonds. While Australia does not feature on the OBOR Map, the opportunity exists to take a bigger part in China’s infrastructure projects based on the OBOR. This includes Australian cooperation with China in assuming a larger role in third party infrastructure projects. For instance, the OBOR strategy fits well with the Australian Government ‘Our North, Our Future: A Vision for Developing North Australia’ Plan.

Through strategic docking, the capacity for Australian involvement could be greatly enhanced. Moreover, Australia is also playing a role in OBOR financing. As one of the founding members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Australia will invest over $900 million over the next five years to support the development of the bank and its links to OBOR.

We kindly thank Dr Xiang for his presentation, and extend our thanks also to Professor Colin Clark from Victoria University for facilitating the event. To view a copy of Dr Xiang’s presentation, please click here.