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BRI a timely medicine for post pandemic ailing global economy

By Zamir Ahmed Awan (People's Daily Online)    18:01, April 08, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the whole world, with almost 203 countries, regions, and territories reporting confirmed cases of infection. The hardest-hit countries include the US, Spain, Italy, France, China, Iran, and the UK. Industry has been shut down in most countries, and trade has ground to a halt. Normal routines have been disrupted, and social distancing has become a part of life. The whole world is facing challenges that no one could ever have imagined.

The first country to fall victim to COVID-19 was China, but prompt actions and appropriate measures allowed it to defeat the disease. No new local cases have been reported for several days, and life is gradually returning to normal. Industry and domestic trade have resumed. International travel and trade are partially restored, and China is ready to meet global demand for medical equipment and living necessities.

After two months, COVID-19 has spread in the EU and the US, and is currently reaching its peak destructive phase. The Western world is in lockdown. Industry, trade, and economic activities are almost negligible, badly damaging the economy. Companies are going bankrupt and closing down. People are losing their jobs, and social security systems are becoming over-burdened.

Despite its strength, China’s economy has also been dented. However, China still has the highest reserves of foreign exchange and possesses enough capacity to meet global demand for goods, services, and capital.

The countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative will receive benefits under its friendly and flexible policies. More countries are expected to recognize and join BRI, which will play an essential role in rebuilding the ruined global economy.

New projects will be launched under BRI, opening more avenues of opportunities. China and BRI countries will enhance economic activities, leading to mutual benefits and prosperity. The Chinese principle of "Win-Win" will ensure fruits for all BRI nations.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the flagship project under BRI, will be boosted. The CPEC was not halted during the pandemic, and Gwadar Port was functional throughout. Both governments are in close contact and consulting on ways to boost CPEC cooperation.

The recent visit by the president of Pakistan to China and meetings with the Chinese leadership show that solidarity with China continues and our cooperation in all dimensions is strengthening, including CPEC.

Post pandemic, there will be more space for development, and China has the capacity and will to meet this demand. Enhancement of BRI will lead to the prosperity of the entire BRI community and contribute to reversing the decline in the global economy and growth.

The opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to People's Daily Online.

Zamir Ahmed Awan is a senior fellow with the Center for China and Globalization (CCG) and a sinologist at the National University of Sciences and Technology in Pakistan. E-mail: [email protected]


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