Chinese envoy on key achievements along Belt and Road in 2016

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-03-09 10:31

ISTANBUL - The year 2016 saw an increase in China's imports and exports and new contracts Chinese companies signed with countries along the Belt and Road, Chinese Ambassador to Turkey Yu Hongyang said on Wednesday evening.

Addressing a gathering of Turkish and Chinese entrepreneurs in Istanbul, Yu noted that his country's combined imports and exports with countries along the Belt and Road last year topped 6.3 trillion yuan ($916 billion), up 0.6 percent from the previous year.

Meanwhile, Chinese companies signed new contracts worth $126 billion with countries along the routes, or 36 percent higher year-on-year, and made direct investments valued at $14.5 billion, accounting for 8.5 percent of China's total outbound investments, the Chinese envoy said.

In addition, in 2016, Chinese businesses helped build 56 economic and trade cooperation zones in 20 countries along the Belt and Road, with a combined investment surpassing $18.5 billion, generating nearly $1.1 billion in tax revenues and about 180,000 jobs in those countries, Yu said.

"The initiative came from China, while the outcomes benefit the world," he remarked.

Ever since President Xi Jinping put forward the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013, China has signed cooperation agreements with more than 40 countries and international organizations.

A Belt and Road forum for international cooperation is slated for May in Beijing, with a view to thoroughly reviewing the progress made under the initiative, discussing major cooperation measures going forward and advancing international cooperation.

As Turkey is an important country along the Belt and Road, Yu said the Chinese side welcomes the participation of the Turkish side in the Belt and Road development and supports all-round cooperation between the enterprises from both countries under the framework of the initiative.

Erol Bilecik, president of the Turkish Industry and Business Association, the country's top business organization, said Turkey considers its Middle Corridor Initiative should be part of the giant Belt and Road project.

Turkey signed with China, its second biggest trading partner, a memorandum of understanding in November 2015 on aligning their respective development projects.

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