Will China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) boost our trade?

September 19, 2017 – Since China’s President Xi Jinping announced the BRI last year, the first nine months of 2016 alone witnessed Chinese companies signing 4,000 engineering contracts, with a combined value of nearly USD70 billion.

Trans-Siberian RR

By investing in rail, ports and power plants along centuries-old silk routes, China is seeking to stimulate cross-border trade. This isn’t just trade with China’s neighbors, but with regions as far afield as Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

China anticipates its trade with countries along the land ‘belt’ and marine ‘road’ will surpass USD2.5 trillion annually in the next decade. One example of a project contributing to this growth is the China-Europe freight rail service, which has run over 3,500 trains linking 27 Chinese cities to 11 European countries since it launched in 2011.

The question for Heartland companies is, will any of these highly-touted BRI opportunities result in increased export of products and services to this multi-continent initiative, or will we be shut out due to previously-formed business partnerships within those regions of the world?

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