The European Commission has become increasingly critical of various Chinese investments within the EU, fueling an ongoing debate within Europe about investment screening. While the EU released a framework for foreign investment screening implicitly aimed at China in November 2018, the debate has exposed cross-cutting divisions within Europe. Looking ahead to 2019, we should not expect a clear resolution anytime soon.
The China Road Project, a team of researchers interested in China’s role in global development, will be traveling 60,000 kilometers over land and sea to investigate China's Belt and Road initiative (BRI), a foreign policy concept and global infrastructure plan announced by Chinese president Xi Jinping in 2013, to help close the information gap and shine a light on the multi-trillion dollar initiative.
Japan’s Nippon Express will begin offering regular freight train shipping between China and Europe in February, as China’s Belt and Road Initiative accelerates the transfer of goods between the two markets, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
Browse our analysis section for news and articles on topics such as China's Belt and Road Initiative (OBOR), the Competing Visions of Japan, India, and other regional powers, and the stakes for U.S. policy.
This Friday China will gather 16 Central and Eastern European countries in Sofia, Bulgaria, for the annual China-Central and Eastern European "16+1" summit. As the gathering may help China build a bigger economic and political presence in Europe and exercise its power bilaterally under the cover of a multilateral veneer, it warrants more attention from Brussels and Washington.
"China has lavished investment pledges on Balkan states as it prepares for a summit with 16 EU countries and aspiring members, stoking fears in Brussels and influential national capitals of an effort to divide the bloc" reports the Financial Times, citing data collected in collaboration with the CSIS Reconnecting Asia Project.
Since 2012, China has held an annual "16 plus one" forum on economic cooperation with 16 Eastern European states and has pledged to invest a total of $15 billion in infrastructure improvements so far.
A recent report from the Reconnecting Asia Project suggests intercontinental rail will not likely capture enough trade to fundamentally change Eurasia's broader economic picture.
Quotes and Quotas is a digest of phrases and facts that help explain Asia’s infrastructure push.
Just 10 years ago, regular direct freight services from China to Europe did not exist. Today, they connect roughly 35 Chinese cities with 34 European cities. But despite their rapid advances, these lines must compete with maritime routes that have dominated commerce between Asia and Europe since the late fifteenth century. It remains to be seen how much trade they can capture.
State Grid Corp. of China has announced plans to bid for a 20 percent stake in a local German power grid operator. If successful, the deal will be China's first investment in Germany's critical infrastructure.
China is not a newcomer to the Western Balkans. Beijing is leveraging historical ties with the region to connect with willing collaborators and use its newfound political capital.
British prime minister Theresa May is expecting $12.8 billion in commercial deals with China. The agreements would focus mainly on the fields of finance, agriculture, science and technology, as well as President Xi Jinping's flagship Belt and Road Initiative.
Chinese infrastructure investment in CEE countries has served as a catalyst for regional development and deeper integration within Europe.
There has to be a balance between funding any project that a government politician thinks is a good project versus a very long drawn out review process that could take up to a decade. Somewhere in between, there is something that’s long-term economically valuable.
Broad generalizations about “Belt and Road projects,” whether positive or negative, are not particularly helpful and could even be dangerous when formulating policy. A more successful approach is likely to involve nuanced and localized policies in the same way that China has adopted localized approaches to infrastructure investment under the BRI umbrella.
The political damage Chinese investment in the CEE has created for the EU is already visible in its inability to act cohesively vis-à-vis China on trademark foreign policy issues, namely upholding the international rule of law and protecting human rights.
The evolving nature of international trade due to China's Belt and Road Initiative will be one key trend to watch in 2018.
Chinese investments in Central and Eastern Europe are raising concerns about transparency and accountability, but for now, the risks are relatively manageable given the modest scope of investment.
Premier Li sees the region as key to Belt and Road push
At the onset of Beijing’s sixth 16+1 forum, China’s involvement with Central and Eastern Europe under the Belt and Road is beginning to take shape. Results on the ground have proven mixed so far, and a more nuanced local picture is slowly emerging; with some reasons for concerns but also much reassurance provided.
Beijing’s star is rising in central and eastern European nations,” reports the Financial Times
The magnitude of the Balkan Silk Road project poses a mixture of opportunities and policy challenges for countries engaging in or seeking to benefit from its implementation.
Our “Big Questions” series brings together leading scholars, former policymakers, and top industry experts to tackle critical questions. In the seventh part of this series, we asked a group of experts to comment on China's growing infrastructure investment in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE).
What is new about China's Belt and Road is that it is more likely to succeed outside of Eurasia, leading to new opportunities but also unexpected challenges for Europe and the United States.