Workers are seen at the construction site of Al-Zour New Refinery Project (NRP) in Ahmadi Governorate, Kuwait, on Dec. 12, 2019. Located in the southern desert of Kuwait, the Al-Zour New Refinery Project has been hailed as a model for the "mutually beneficial win-win cooperation" between Kuwait and China under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Following are the priority areas of cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative.
-- Policy Coordination
Policy coordination is key to effective implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative.
In order to expand shared interests, enhance mutual trust, and build consensus on further cooperation, it is important for the countries along the Belt and Road to seek common ground while shelving differences, and increase inter-governmental communication on macroeconomic policy and development strategies so as to better align their national priorities with regional planning needs and common goals.
-- Connectivity of Infrastructure
While respect for each other's sovereignty and security concerns is indispensable, a closer alignment of infrastructure development planning and technical standards is called for between the countries along the Belt and Road.
Such a move would facilitate the construction of key international arteries, so as to build an infrastructure network that not only links all the subregions in Asia, but also extends out to Europe and Africa.
-- Unimpeded Trade
Removing barriers to trade with the aim of unleashing the potential for greater cooperation between countries involved is a major task in building the Belt and Road.
Major measures the countries and regions along the Belt and Road could take include: creating mechanisms to facilitate free trade and the removal of investment and trade barriers; opening free trade areas to create a business-friendly environment at the regional and national levels and unleash the potential for cooperation; and improving the transparency of technical measures and reducing non-tariff barriers in order to liberalize and facilitate trade.
-- Financial Integration
Financial integration is an important support for the Belt and Road Initiative. Key measures the countries concerned could take to foster financial integration include: increasing financial cooperation to ensure currency stability, build a sound framework for investment, financing, and credit services in Asia, and expand the availability of public financial products; and strengthening the role of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the BRICS New Development Bank, the Silk Road Fund, and sovereign wealth funds of the countries concerned in funding key projects.
-- Closer People-to-People Ties
People-to-people ties provide an anchor for the Belt and Road Initiative. Without such an anchor, the strategic goal of connecting diverse cultures and different countries would be out of reach. Increased interaction and mutual understanding, greater awareness of potential benefits from expanded cooperation, and more participation are therefore indispensable to the initiative's success.
To this end, the countries along the Belt and Road are encouraged to step up friendly cooperation in the Silk Road tradition by promoting extensive cultural, academic, scientific, media, and other people-to-people exchanges, including those between youths, women, and volunteer groups, so as to consolidate public support for bilateral and multilateral cooperation.