November 15, 2021 - 2:20 pm

Competition or Cooperation

China gives off an impression of being rebranding its multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) bracing for rivalry with US President Joe Biden's Build Back Better World (B3W) initiative which lays accentuation on transparency and democratic values. This came after the US plans to invest in 5 to 10 large Infrastructure projects around the world in January as part of a broader G-7 initiative to counter China's BRI.

                                 China welcomes varied international locations to take part in BRI and stays open to worldwide cooperation conducive to enhancing connectivity and realising frequent development. A pet initiative of President Xi, the BRI was launched in 2013 to fund in infrastructure projects in the world, taking advantage of China's $3.21 trillion forex reserve to further Beijing's global influence. Since then, the $60 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) emerged as the flagship project over which India has raised protests as it is being laid through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

                                 Experts opine that the US-led G-7 initiative as B3W essentially a political start to challenge the eight-year-old BRI framework and a sly trick played by the Biden administration to build momentum for the passage of the US domestic infrastructure spending package, is financially not feasible. They cast doubts over the viability of the colossal spending required to materialize ulterior motives-powered B3W initiative, particularly when compared with the open and inclusive BRI

                                 However, the lack of transparency of BRI agreements and mounting debt to China by smaller countries have raised global concerns. Analysts have caution Beijing about the US successfully pushing a B3W plan to counter the BRI. Therefore, China is keen to change BRI's name to Biden's opponent B3W with focus on green finance and inclusive development. The world needs to "build bridges" rather than "tear down bridges" to strengthen connectivity rather than seeking decoupling; to make mutual benefits and win-win corporations rather than a closed-door policy and exclusiveness.