The Asia Society “Navigating The Belt And Road” Report

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The Asia Society Policy Initiative has just published its report on China’s Belt & Road Initiative. Written by Daniel R. Russel and Blake Berger,  the report commences with the following introduction:

“As a result of China’s Immense size and growing economic and strategic footprint, along with its increasingly muscular handling of international relations, the world today is confronting the challenges and opportunities posed by an ambitious and resurgent China. Key among the challenges and opportunities is the initiative announced by Xi Jinping in 2013 as “One Belt, One Road”—a series of infrastructure investments to connect China with economies throughout East, South, and Central Asia and on to the Middle East and Europe. Its stated purpose was to promote new corridors of trade and connectivity between China and the world. But other drivers included the need to offload China’s then-immense overcapacity in steel and construction; a desire to develop China’s impoverished, remote western provinces; and to diversify China’s energy import routes to reduce its heavy dependence on oil shipments through the vulnerable Malacca Strait.

This grand plan, later renamed the “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI), encompasses a continental “Economic Belt” and a maritime “Silk Road.” At the national Work Conference on Peripheral Diplomacy held in 2013 in Beijing, the Chinese government also announced the creation of a USD $40 billion Silk Road fund. Since that time, as the BRI’s reach and ambition have grown, the scale of the initiative has expanded to an estimated USD $1 trillion or more.”

It then goes on to list several “Recommended Practices” as follows:

  1. Require and conduct a rigorous, comprehensive, and transparent project   preparation process.
  2. Establish a BRI project preparation fund.
  3. Develop a BRI FIDIC-based “standard contract” with required,   recommended, and optional provisions.
  4. Use blended finance to ensure that BRI projects are commercially viable   and can attract international private and public financing (i.e., PPPs).
  5. Ensure an open and transparent project procurement process.
  6. Conduct rigorous, transparent, community-engaged, and publicly available   environmental and social impact assessments.
  7. Require and enable stakeholder engagement throughout the project life   cycle, including by establishing a local grievance mechanism.
  8. Better regulate the use of Chinese workers in overseas projects.
  9. Expand and improve the use of local labor and businesses, including   through “up-skilling” programs.
  10. Adopt “Clean BRI” anticorruption/antibribery oversight, enforcement,   and reporting mechanisms.
  11. Create BRI units in Chinese embassies in project countries.
  12. Develop a searchable, comprehensive, up-to-date, English-language   BRI project database.

The report can be downloaded here


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Silk Road Development Weekly is compiled each week by Chris Devonshire-Ellis, Chairman of Dezan Shira & Associates. The firm has 28 offices throughout Eurasia and assists foreign investors into the region. For strategic advisory and business intelligence issues please contact the firm at or visit