context: Chinese experts have embraced BRI even as challenges to its structure become more apparent. As Li outlines, many now view BRI as a broad banner for all of China’s foreign policy objectives, a far more grand vision than its initial infrastructure focus.

2019 is the key year for Belt and Road Inititative (BRI) construction to increase and expand (走深走实), said Gao Yan 高燕 China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) chairman at the 10th China Economic Outlook Forum on 12 January 2019. CCPIT will organise trade promotion events to encourage companies to participate in BRI.

In the past five years, BRI has become the ‘China Solution’ for China to participate in global governance and promote construction of a community of shared future for mankind, says Gao. Now, the BRI has

  • strengthened policy coordination
  • accelerated implementation of major economic and trade projects
  • constructed networks of connected infrastructure
  • steadily promoted industrial and financial cooperation
  • generated substantial benefits for BRI countries and improved people–to–people networks

The Second BRI Forum for International Cooperation scheduled in 2019 aims to raise standards, says Gao. The forum will

  • prioritise infrastructure connection networks and capacity cooperation
    • emphasise strengthening policy coordination
    • construct major projects
    • diversify markets
    • ensure financial security
    • promote people–to–people networks
    • regulate overseas investments

To help firms participate in BRI, CCPIT will facilitate and broaden communication channels between Chinese and foreign companies. These channels will promote coordination between China and BRI countries from the B2B to national strategic level, says Gao.