AIIB shares BRI’s broader vision of gaining institutional voice and providing public goods in its region, unpacked as four breakthroughs by Chairman Xi at the bank’s fifth annual meeting. Columnists note a shift in Xi’s stance, reflecting the pandemic and its aftershock.
A new investment framework focuses on new (along with and traditional) infrastructure and new urbanisation. To improve amenities in accord with local needs, it turns to private investment and public–private partnerships more than ever before.
‘Improving the business environment’ yet again topped agendas in recent weeks with Xi Jinping 习近平 weighing in on the issue. Private firms, not least SMEs, are critical for jobs and tech progress, he told a 21 July symposium for entrepreneurs.
The pandemic has dealt a huge blow to China’s seafood production and trade. Quarantine, lockdown and reduced demand exacerbate older issues for the struggling sector. Beyond imported seafood, recent COVID outbreaks hit the entire domestic market.
The China–Cambodia FTA, featuring BRI cooperation, is set to be signed. Both sides are eager, completing negotiations in three rounds only. Cambodia will see more FDI and an expanded export market, notes Xu Liping 许利平 CASS, while Chinese consumers will enjoy well-priced Cambodian products.
Current talk by Xi and other top leaders of a ‘dual circulation’ system imagines a two-track economy, featuring a strong domestic base and new avenues for international cooperation and competition. Experts suggest in normal times they are complementary but kept separate during external shocks will buffer the nation.
Rosy official stats indicate positive GDP growth of 3.2 percent in Q2 2020, implying a corner turned since the 6.8 percent contraction in Q1. With growth positive, regulators are again hedging against financial risk.
A landmark BRI project, the CRE (China-Europe Railway Express) is held up by congestion at land ports. Operators were asked in late June to reduce services until the backlog is processed.
Updated restrictions on plastics announced in January tackle the ongoing issue of bags, but also new sources like e-commerce and food delivery. The overarching aim is to close the loop, with much work needed in each stage of the value chain.
Flagging renewed focus on mitigating financial risk, a People’s Bank of China meeting displayed confidence it can handle initial economic problems of COVID-19. SOE reform is also on the agenda.
COVID-19’s impact on employment is such that Two Sessions eschewed GDP targets to focus on jobs. State Council executive highlighted the plight of university graduates and migrant workers in particular. Beijing has responded quickly, but it is SMEs that hold the key.
The COVID outbreak continues to roil the capital. As of 22 Jun 2020, well over 2 million tests have been carried out in there. For faster testing, every five samples are aggregated for a single test.