(21.April) This approach is reflected in the fact that 89 percent of projects that are labeled as part of the BRI have been implemented by Chinese companies. Foreign companies complain about their lack of access to the BRI, and combined with China’s reluctance to welcome foreign investments, it casts doubt on whether the BRI is a two-way street. Even though Chinese rhetoric around the BRI has international aspirations and calls for enhanced international participation, it remains effectively a Chinese initiative. To become truly international, the BRI needs to be more than just a vehicle for Chinese investments overseas. It needs to promote idea sharing and evolve by adopting international best practices through an inclusive consultative process with partners, both Chinese and non-Chinese.
And just like clockwork, an extra Russia-Iran integration node may be added as Tehran is expected to join the Russia-led Eurasia Economic Union (EEU) before the end of the year. The free trade EEU – now harboring Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Vietnam – is attracting interest from everyone from China, India and Indonesia to Serbia, Israel and South American nations. Erdogan is certainly paying attention.(…)
With the prospect of Syrian reconstruction finally at hand, Beijing will turbo-charge its plans to turn Syria into a key Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) node.