China’s multi trillion-dollar Belt and Road initiative is creating international infrastructure to Game of Thrones dimensions, and firms in the UK need to jump aboard while they can.
That’s according to Bristol and West of England China Bureau Director Richard Lowe, who said the ambitious building programme – which spans Asia, Africa and Europe – dwarfs every other infrastructure development on the planet.
Lowe said: “The Belt and Road is a truly global undertaking and yet many UK businesses have not yet considered how they can get involved or looked at the implications for world trade once it is up and running. China’s growing influence around the globe is encapsulated in the Belt and Road initiative and businesses should be making China a priority trading partner.”
The recent Hong Kong Trade Development Council seminar in Bristol had given business leaders a valuable insight into the sheer scale of the initiative according to Lowe.
He continued: “The Belt and Road programme is essentially a 21st century realisation of the ancient Silk Road – which brought East and West closer together through trade.”
Ms Priscilla To, Director General of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade office and the most senior Hong Kong Government official in the UK, delivered the opening address at the seminar.
She said China’s Belt and Road initiative spanned 62 countries and promoted international cooperation – giving new impetus for economic growth for decades to come.
The multi-billion-dollar programme envisages a vast new economic entity welding Asia, Europe and Africa closer together through an infrastructure network linking roads, ports, bridges, tunnels and pipelines.
Lowe said: “The Bristol and West of England China Bureau is playing its part, bringing these various strands together as an information hub for West Country business people who may not have considered the opportunities presented by mutual trade opportunities. We are encouraging Bristol entrepreneurs and businesses to take up the opportunities through the multitude of opportunities thrown up by the Belt and Road initiative.”
“Building closer connections with China is more important than ever. Open dialogue and cultural exchanges help to build trust and foster closer relationships. It is through harnessing these exchanges that we can build on the opportunities offered by the Belt and Road Initiatives and continue the new golden era of UK-China relations.”