China-Belt and Road Initiative Multilateral Trade Has Reached US$9.2 Trillion In Seven Years

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Aero-engine on display at the 2021 Xi’an Silk Road Expo

Statistics released by Chinese official sources at the Fifth Annual Silk Road Expo in Xi’an this weekend have revealed that the total trade volume between China and the Belt and Road countries amounted to U$9.2 trillion from 2013 to 2020, while combined investment by Chinese enterprises in these countries has reached US$136 billion.

That means from the 2013 commencement of the BRI, China’s trade with a growing number of BRI members – now 147 countries and territories – has averaged US$1.4 trillion per annum. The 2020 figure will be rather higher than this as the BRI has expanded since 2013 when it commenced with just 70 nations.

China’s total export trade volume in 2020 was about US$2.5 trillion from a GDP of about US$15.66 trillion. The United States exported about US$1.43 trillion of goods from a 2020 GDP of about US$21.44 trillion.

With a recent US trade war behind them and continuing uneasy trade relations with the United States and to some extent the EU, this is a reminder that China has planned for such eventualities, learning from the experience of Russia when the United States placed trade sanctions on the country in 2014. The Belt and Road Initiative as a rapidly developing trade group can be seen as China’s response to protect itself from over-exposure to US trade and develop markets elsewhere and to diversify its supply chains.

That can be seen from the make-up of the Fifth Silk Road Expo, which ended on Saturday. 1,900 representatives and businesspeople from 98 countries and regions such as Slovakia, Belgium, the Republic of Korea, Tajikistan, and Zambia attended, with trade deals announced amounting to US$24.6 billion including 72 key projects in fields within the education, modern agriculture, and high-tech industries.

Our complimentary Guide to Opportunities Within China’s Belt & Road Initiative can be downloaded here.

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