Browse our analysis section for news and articles on topics such as China's Belt and Road Initiative (OBOR), the world's evolving digital infrastructure competition, and the stakes for U.S. policy.
This report, the third in a series on Chinese economic activities in the Western Balkans, provides recommendations for U.S. and partner responses to China's growing economic and political influence in the region and a “red flags” checklist to help identify activities that warrant further scrutiny.
This series explores the dynamics of China's engagement across Southeast Europe through the BRI, including the 17+1 cooperation platform, the role of political elites and state media, Chinese outbound tourism to the region, Chinese political values and governance, and the role of Covid-19.
Japan has signed a post-Brexit bilateral trade deal with the United Kingdom that will allow Japan to support the UK's 5G network development, following a ban on 5G equipment from Chinese supplier Huawei in July.
This report examines Chinese economic activities in Serbia to shed light on China’s political and economic objectives, its mechanisms for influence, and the implications of its activities, including a second wave of digital infrastructure projects.
Public support for China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is declining in Belarus amid protests against President Alexander Lukashenko, who has been a proponent of the Chinese initiative, Nikkei reports.
The UK government announced it will ban the purchase of new 5G equipment from the Chinese technology company Huawei as of Dec. 31 this year and remove all Huawei devices from the country's 5G networks by 2027, Nikkei reports.
Supply chain disruptions due to the Covid-19 pandemic have increased traffic along China-Europe rail lines, which Beijing has promoted heavily under its Belt and Road Initiative, Nikkei reports.
This report assesses Chinese economic activities in the Western Balkans based on open-source data collected by CSIS and identifies key trends and China’s main avenues of influence.
As the Chinese economy slowly begins to recover from the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, French economist and founding president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Jacques Attali, sees China emerging as an important technological power, Nikkei reports.
Environmental and anti-globalization groups in Belgium are seeking to halt the construction of a logistics hub by Chinese company Alibaba, claiming the $80 million project will increase pollution and create only low-quality jobs, Nikkei reports.
French train maker Alstom is set to take over a railway unit of Canada's Bombardier in an $8.2 billion deal aimed at giving it the scale to better compete with China's CRRC, which continues to advance in Africa and Asia through the BRI, Nikkei reports.
The UK has announced that it will allow the limited use of Huawei equipment in its 5G network despite pressure from the U.S. to exclude the Chinese tech company due to security concerns, Nikkei reports.
The European Chamber describes the role of European business in China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), suggests ways the initiative can become more inclusive, and recommends areas where the EU can both complement the BRI and develop its own connectivity strategy into a credible alternative.
Germany lowered its national maximum foreign investment threshold from 25 to 10 percent in December, in part due to rising concerns over growing Chinese investment in digital and other infrastructure across Europe.
The freight unit of Germany's state-owned railroad group Deutsche Bahn plans a major increase in capacity for China-bound shipments, counting on continued support for overland transport under China's Belt and Road connectivity project, reports Nikkei Asian Review.
Newly seated World Bank President David Malpass says the multilateral organization is working hard to ensure Beijing improves transparency in lending to countries involved in its Belt and Road Initiative, Nikkei reports.
The signing of an MoU during a March 22-24 by Chinese president Xi Jinping has made Italy the first G7 nation to join China's sprawling Belt and Road Initiative, but Rome will be wise to devote sustained long-term resources to the negotiation, implementation, and follow-up of whatever comes out of these memoranda to avoid the mistakes of other BRI partners.
China announced on Saturday that two more non-Asian nations, Switzerland and Peru, have signed on to its Belt and Road Initiative. As Asian Belt and Road participants view with initiative with increasing skepticism, China is looking elsewhere for supportive partners, reports Nikkei.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Italian PM Giuseppe Conte agreed to uphold Japan's four conditions for high-quality infrastructure during a bilateral summit in Rome. Italy recently signed on to China's Belt and Road Initiative, sparking concerns the country would fall prey to "debt-trap diplomacy," reports Nikkei.
The United Kingdom's National Security Council has barred Huawei Technologies from supplying equipment for sensitive "core" components of its 5G network. However, Prime Minister Theresa May has accepted the National Cyber Security Center's conclusion that the risk from Huawei's participation can be mitigated, and thus will allow the company to contribute equipment to "non-core" parts of the network, reports Nikkei.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Slovakia later this month, where he plans to offer Eastern European leaders Japanese-financed infrastructure investments. Abe is expected to raise concerns about China's so-called debt-trap diplomacy, presenting Japan's approach as an alternative to the Belt and Road Initiative, reports Nikkei.
China Communications Construction has signed an agreement to operate the northern Italian port of Trieste. Combined with Piraeus in Greece, Sines in Portugal and Valencia in Spain it could form a new Chinese-controlled logistics network capable of redesigning Europe's industrial chains, reports Nikkei.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters Germany will "consult with the U.S." about the risks of allowing Huawei to help build the country's 5G network. The announcement comes as Washington threatens to halt intelligence sharing with allies who refuse to ban the Chinese telecommunications firm from 5G equipment contracts, reports Nikkei.
To effectively leverage the infrastructure financing opportunities provided by the Belt & Road Initiative, countries must examine their own development strategies and build domestic skills and institutions, argues Ganeshan Wignaraja for the Nikkei Asian Review.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said Friday that he is open to signing a deal that would make Italy a member of China's Belt and Road Initiative. The move risks stirring up divisions with other European Union members distrustful of Beijing's expansionist bent, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
Taking effect Friday, The economic partnership agreement between Japan and the European Union incorporates wide-ranging regulations on data transfer and intellectual property protection. The trade deal could help establish precedent for the digital field, Nikkei reports.
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.
On September 19, The European Commission released a joint communication titled "Connecting Europe and Asia – Building blocks for an EU Strategy," outlining EU priorities for implementing sustainable, comprehensive, and rules-based connectivity to link its transport, energy, and digital networks with Asia.
The EU became wary of China's infrastructure investment in Central and Eastern European countries. Hungary was forced by the EU to conduct a public tender for the Hungarian segment of the Belgrade-Budapest High-Speed Railway, which would delay the project completion until 2023.
"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.
Quotes and Quotas is a weekly digest of powerful phrases and facts that help explain Asia’s infrastructure push.
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.
Japanese trading house Itochu is launching a freight transport service linking Japan and Europe via China.
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's Belt and Road initiative has enjoyed relatively rapid and wide support, particularly in Asia. However, its political future depends on implementation and delivering economic results. To sustain support, China should be looking for opportunities to broaden participation.
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.
During French president Emmanuel Macron's recent trip to China, he promised to pursue a comprehensive and strategic partnership including collaboration on China's Belt and Road initiative.
China has achieved remarkable infrastructure progress in recent years. As the Chinese say, if you want to develop, build the road first; and as investors say, no infrastructure, no FDI.
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.
On November 30th the CSIS Energy and National Security Program hosted "Hydrogen and Green Shipping: Zero Emission Fuel in the Maritime Sector" to discuss the important role that hydrogen fuel technology could play for shipping in the transition to a low-carbon future.
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