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China's Xi promises open markets and billions in new investments for 'Belt and Road' projects
Chinese President Xi Jinping is promising foreign companies more access to China’s huge market and more than $100 billion in new financing for other developing economies
BEIJING (AP) — Chinese President Xi Jinping promised foreign companies greater access to China’s huge market and more than $100 billion in new financing for other developing economies as he opened a forum Wednesday on his signature Belt and Road infrastructure initiative.
Xi's initiative has built power plants, roads, railroads and ports around the world and deepened China’s ties with Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Mideast. But the massive loans backing the projects have burdened poorer countries with heavy debts, in some cases leading to China taking control of those assets.
At the forum’s opening ceremony at the ornate and cavernous Great Hall of the People, Xi promised that two Chinese-backed development banks – the China Development Bank and the Export–Import Bank of China – will each set up 350 billion yuan ($47.9 billion) financing windows. An additional 80 billion yuan ($11 billion) will be invested in Beijing's Silk Road Fund to support BRI projects.
“We will comprehensively remove restrictions on foreign investment access in the manufacturing sector,” Xi said. He said China would further open up “cross-border trade and investment in services and expand market access for digital products” and carry out reforms of state-owned enterprises and in sectors such as the digital economy, intellectual property rights and government procurement.