Belt and Road summit: Xi pledges investment, promises to open Chinese markets
Workers walk past a banner at the construction site of Halim Station ahead of an operational test run of the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed train, which is part of China's Belt and Road infrastructure initiative, in September, in Jakarta, Indonesia. | Dita Alangkara / AP

Chinese President Xi Jinping promised foreign companies greater access to China’s huge market and pledged billions in new financing for other developing economies.

The promises came as Xi opened a global forum Wednesday on his signature and already highly successful Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The BRI has been responsible for building power plants, roads, railroads, and ports around the world and deepening China’s cooperation with Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

At the forum’s opening ceremony at the Great Hall of the People, Xi promised that two Chinese development banks, the China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China, will each set up 350 billion yuan ($48 billion USD) financing windows.

An additional 80 billion yuan ($11 billion USD) will be invested in Beijing’s Silk Road Fund to support BRI projects.

Xi also pledged that more of the Chinese market will be open to international capitalist investment. “We will comprehensively remove restrictions on foreign investment access in the manufacturing sector,” he announced.

Xi said that China would also open up “cross-border trade and investment in services and expand market access for digital products” and carry out what he called “reforms” of state-owned enterprises and in sectors such as the digital economy, intellectual property rights, and government procurement.

This opening up of Chinese markets and the massive new investment comes as official data shows China’s economy expanded at a 4.9% annual pace in July-September, beating analysts’ forecasts of about 4.5%.

This compares to the United States economy, which is predicted to grow by 2.2% this year and by only 0.8% in the following year.

Xi said that the U.S. and its allies continue to reduce their reliance on Chinese manufacturing and supply chains amid heightened competition and diplomatic frictions. He reiterated promises that Beijing ensures a fair environment for foreign firms in China and does not employ political sanctions or trade wars, like the U.S.

He said, “We do not engage in ideological confrontation, geopolitical games, nor clique political confrontation.”

Xi said that “viewing others’ development as a threat or taking economic interdependence as a risk will not make one’s own life better or speed up one’s development.

“China can only do well when the world is doing well,” Xi declared, “and when China does well, the world will get even better.”

Representatives from more than 130 mostly developing countries attended the forum, including at least 20 heads of state and government.

Morning Star


Roger McKenzie
Roger McKenzie

Roger McKenzie is the International Editor of Morning Star, Britain’s daily socialist newspaper. He is the author of the book "African Uhuru: The Fight for African Freedom in the Rise of the Global South" published by Manifesto Press.