Pacific islands welcome Belt and Road opportunities
Updated: 2015-07-31 20:57
By Wang Xu(chinadaily.com.cn)
A senior official from the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), an inter-governmental organization that aims to enhance cooperation between nations of the Pacific Ocean, sees the Belt and Road Initiative as an historic opportunity for stronger economic links with China.
The Pacific Island Countries (PICs) are an integral part of the Maritime Silk Road and rich in natural resources and products, with the ability to supply to China not just mineral resources, timber and fish but a variety of other goods to China, said David Morris, trade commissioner of the PIF's agency in Beijing on Friday.
"We really look forward to working with Chinese businesses and the government to take advantage of this historic opportunity," Morris said.
According to a handbook released on Friday, bilateral trade between China and the Pacific Islands Countries reached $4.5 billion in 2014, comprising exports from China to PICs of $2.5 billion and imports to China of $2 billion.
With booming energy exports and visitor arrivals, there are plenty of opportunities across the Oceania region for more trade, investment and tourism, Morris said.
The Pacific Islands are remote, but that’s what makes them special because the resources of the islands remain underdeveloped, including mining and energy, agriculture and fisheries, Morris said. Thus, sustainable and win-win investments for local communities from Chinese partners are especially welcomed, he added.
Du Qiwen, China's special envoy for the China-Pacific Islands Forum Dialogue said China has been a strong and consistent supporter of the PIF's activities to enhance development cooperation and he wished continuous and robust growth in cooperation and exchanges between China and PICs.