Silk Road initiative: China signs 1,401 contracts

Beijing: Chinese companies have signed 1,401 project contracts worth USD 37.6 billion in countries along its Silk Road initiative in the first half of this year, nearly half of combined overseas contract value, according to official data released today.

The contracts were worth USD 37.6 billion, up 16.7 per cent year on year, and accounting for 43.3 per cent of contracts in the period, Shen Danyang, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) spokesman, said.

Chinese companies signed overseas project contracts worth USD 86.7 billion in the first six months, representing an increase of 6.9 per cent year on year, he said.?

The Belt and Road refer to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st century Maritime Silk Road (MSR), proposed by China in 2013 with the goal of boosting trade between Asia and Europe.

The network passes through more than 60 countries and regions, with a total population of 4.4 billion.

A number of countries were still studying the initiative and are yet to come out in full support.

China has set up USD 40 billion to fund the initiative.

While India has extended support for the Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar Economic Corridor, (BCIM) which is part of the Silk Road initiative, it is silent on the MSR and criticised the Pakistan, China Economic Corridor, (PCEC) as it passes through the Pakistan administered Kashmir region.

China meanwhile has launched the PCEC with an investment of USD 46 billion.

Most of the projects in PCEC were reportedly awarded to Chinese firms, as China is the main investor. (PTI)