One Belt, One Road opens global doors

More than $1.3 trillion has already been spent on infrastructure projects in Africa and Asia to support China’s massive plan to open trading routes to 70 per cent of the world’s population in about 40 countries.

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s grand plan One Belt, One Road project will eventually open the door to supply chain opportunities for WA businesses.

Opportunities to build infrastructure have emerged with billions already spent in Africa since 2012 on new ports in Tanzania, railway lines in Kenya, naval facilities in Djibouti and industrial zones along the Suez Canal in Egypt. Projects are either completed or underway.

More than 900 deals are in progress such as a gas pipeline from the Bay of Bengal to Myanmar through to southwest China and a rail link between Beijing and Germany’s Duisburg transport hub.

Airport infrastructure is also being improved.

CCI Chief Economist Rick Newnham – who will discuss the initiative at the One Belt, One Road business breakfast at CCI on March 14 – says completion of the massive projects may be decades away but WA businesses should plan now for the opportunities they will bring.

He says opportunities already exist for constructing roads, railways, ports and maritime routes along new and pre-existing trade corridors.

“Once the infrastructure is in place there is a big opportunity to tap into the growing demand for more niche agricultural exports, as one example, of the many industries that will benefit,” he says.

“We know there is big demand from the growing middle class but this new infrastructure allows us to get these products to those people in a shorter time frame.

“When you are talking about West Australian lobster, honey and other fresh products, you want them to get the customer directly and quickly.”

Newnham says once the products arrive by direct flights, new infrastructure will mean goods can get to neighbouring cities faster by road or rail.

“People are initially thinking this is a big opportunity in China but it is going to link China to all these countries along the path and therefore Australian businesses can forge better links into those countries.

“The countries that are in proximity of One Belt, One Road will grow in prosperity as a result and that means that the demand from those countries will also grow substantially.”

 

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