BRI – a view


Some negative stories are appearing that show the inevitable challenges of this huge project – BRI – as representing the fraying. I do not see it that way. Just negative thinkers. BRI will meet many problems and its success will result from facing them and not trying to bury them.


The UK financial and legal sectors, as well as the commercial businesses are all now beginning to get active on BRI. The Government is somewhat behind the curve, presumably under the influence of Washington who do not want to concede the project to China. Eurasia is a major geopolitical issue that the USA will not easily pass on to China and Russia – see Brzezinski the Grand Chess Game.


BRI is moving ahead fast. There are now expected hiccups as the field work throws up unexpected problems. But the project is moving newly into the Middle East and further into Africa, whilst deepening in Central Asia.


The FT linked the problems and wondered if BRI was hitting some major obstacles. This analysis emerges as japan is moving to insert itself in several corridors of BRI, but this may presage linkage between China and japan, rather than competition.


BRI looks solid to me. Of course the tariff wars, if that is what they are to be called, suggest a bunch of actions from the USA are part of a more organised resistance to China and BRI is a concern for the USA. But as American companies are profiting from BRI, and Japan and India both wonder where innovation for growth is going to come from, we may have to wait a while for BRI to move again from its core moves to date. They appear to be to develop the routes by land and sea, and into the arctic and through to Africa and South America and into the Atlantic.


Around China’s borders the initial links and chains are progressing and resistance like that of India and Malaysia’s new government demonstrate not BRI’s problems as that BRI is now impacting nations attention at the highest level.


India can see issues with the Pakistan corridor affecting their  interests in sensitive areas, but through discussion can see that the hugely sensitive issues of South Asia are addressed by BRI.


So the UK has come alive in pressing its interests on China, and Ambassador Liu is encouraging the private sector to get active before the train, or trains, move too far ahead.


Ambassador Liu is right – we need to get active.


” Sir Douglas Flint is now promoting the importance of London as a financial centre to help fund the BRI, ideally through generating liquidity via the capabilities of the London Stock Exchange. This is a positive move from the UK. China has also been actively pursuing liquidity via various regional stock markets including Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Egypt, Pakistan and Bangladesh- to name just a few. In the past month, China has signed an agreement with CEE banks to syndicate BRI risks. So while London is reaching out, China remains storming onwards via multiple stock exchanges in BRI countries where it has major exposures. The next UK challenge, in this field, is to go global.


There is no doubt the opportunities are there across the board. We just must be pioneers and Icebreakers with new thinking for a completely new project whose authors have thought about this for 30 years , and whose plans stretch right out to the next century. I have had the opportunity to see the longer term thinking and it is really breath-taking.


It is above all rationally based and provides the opportunity to break down national barriers to solving regional tensions by building transnational solutions without interfering with national sovereignties. BRI has learnt from the experience of the EU. So we need to grasp what conclusions China has drawn about transnational development, and the financial and political structures that go along with their analysis.


This will help us synchronise our proposals with their direction.


China can see right through to South Africa and we need to see through the same lenses. China is leading an Industrial Revolution throughout Africa. The opportunities are substantial.


For those who think China’s $22billion to Arab nations was about protecting China’s energy needs, think again. It is about how to help the Arab nations share in BRI, and see the benefit of peace as the basis for being the land and sea route between Africa and Asia.


Henry Tillman does an excellent job of tracking BRI and you can join the dots he produces.


All of this will help us find the innovative ways to promote our interests to the most innovative project of the this century, of any century.


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