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2014 Business Review XVI: Firmly Seizing the Opportunity to Steadily Promote Silk Road Economic Belt Construction in Eurasia
  

Against the complex and changeable situation in Eurasia in 2014, China鈥檚 Ministry of Commerce braved challenges and firmly seized the opportunity to make breakthrough. China-Russia bilateral trade rose in spite of the unfavorable situation, making a good start for the rapid growth of two-way investment and comprehensive cooperation with Eurasian countries as well as the construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt.

Firstly, trade and economic policy matchmaking with Eurasian countries was promoted. The Silk Road Economic Belt initiative got positive response in Eurasian countries. MOFCOM proposed to found the China-Eurasia Economic Cooperation Fund, made active efforts to promote the signing of relevant agreements on strengthening the construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt under the framework of the bilateral trade and economic commission, signed the China-Kazakhstan medium- and long-term development plan, revised the management regulations of the China-Kazakstan Horgos Frontier International Cooperation Center agreed by the Chinese and Kazakstan governments, and conducted feasibility studies on free trade agreements with relevant countries.

Secondly, exchange of visits by leaders of China and Eurasian countries was promoted with fruitful results. MOFCOM was engaged in 37 high-level exchange visits with Eurasian countries, three working meetings of the chairmen of the China-Russia Prime Ministers鈥Regular Meeting, the 18th meeting of the China-Russia Prime Ministers鈥Regular Meeting, and 13 bilateral trade and economic joint committee (breakups) meetings, working group meetings and multilateral meetings. It also signed 24 inter-governmental and inter-ministerial trade and economic agreements, and coordinated with enterprises and financial institutions to sign over 100 agreements with more than US$50 billion.

Thirdly, measures were taken to build new highlights in regional economic cooperation of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). In September 2014, on the sidelines of the SCO Dushanbe Summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed to hold a SCO countries commodity fair in China in 2015, which is the first exposition over 14 years since the SCO was established. Efforts were made to launch the China-Eurasia Economic Cooperation Fund, start project selection, establish the China-Kazakhstan Investment Cooperation Sub-Fund under the framework of the China-Eurasia Economic Cooperation Fund, and build financing platforms for major trade and economic cooperation projects of the countries in the region and the Going Global strategy of Chinese businesses. China provided a new round of US$5 billion loans and was committed to training 2,000 talents in 2015-2017. The SCO trade and investment facilitation level was further improved and its capability building was constantly strengthened.

Fourthly, new platforms for trade and economic cooperation with Eurasian countries were established. The first China-Russia Expo was jointly held by MOFCOM, the Heilongjiang Provincial People鈥檚 Government, the Russian Ministry of Economic Development, and the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade. The 4th China-Eurasia Expo was successfully held in Urumchi, Xinjiang. The China-Russia economic cooperation strategic project high-level working group and the China-Russia investment cooperation committee were established to promote active progress in bilateral strategic major projects. The agricultural products trade and cooperation working group under the framework of the China-Kazakhstan Trade and Economic Cooperation Sub-Committee held its first meeting. Exchanges with the Eurasian Economic Committee was further reinforced.

Fifthly, new progress was made in accelerating China-Eurasia connectivity construction. MOFCOM made active efforts to study matchmaking Russia鈥檚 trans-Siberian Railway with the Silk Road Economic Belt, and made positive progress in the construction of the China-Russia Tongjiang-Nizhneleninskoye railway bridge and the Heihe highway bridge. The first phrase of the China-Tajikistan Highway was completed. A tunnel connection was finished. The China-Kazakstan Lianyungang Logistics Cooperation Base was enlarged. Work was done to improve the efficiency and level of the China-Eurasia railway and increase return goods supply by expanding exports and outbound investment.

Sixthly, new breakthroughs were made in outbound investment and economic and technological cooperation with countries along the Silk Road. MOFCOM held many coordination meetings to promote the acceleration of the China-Belarus Industrial Park comprehensively. On his visit to Kazakhstan in December 2014, Premier Li Keqiang and his Kazakhstan counterpart reached consensus on strengthening bilateral cooperation in production capacity. Efforts wouldl be made to encourage Chinese enterprises to shift their surplus production capacity like that of steel, concrete and flat glass to Kazakhstan. The Moinak Hydropower Station with 300,000 kw built in Kazakhstan was put into use. Construction of phrase II of Dushanbe鈥檚 No. 2 thermal power plant started. The Chinese part of the China Horgos International Border Cooperation Center, the first cross-border international cooperation center in the Eurasian region, preliminarily took shape. Great progress was made in China鈥檚 agriculture going global, road repairs, transmission line upgrading, and contruction of special economic zones in Russia and central Asian countries.

The year 2015 marks the start of the implementation of the Belt and Road initiatives. MOFCOM will insist on the guideline of steady progress, in accordance with the spirit of the central economic meeting, push forward with jointly building the Silk Road Economic Belt along with its trade and economic work in the Eurasian region throughout the whole year, and strive for its early harvest as soon as possible.

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