President Xi Jinping has embarked into a prestigious outbound investment program, One Belt, One Road (OBOR) worth trillions of US dollars. While the West has received the plan reluctantly positive, there is still much more debate needed at what it means for all participants, RSM business professor Zhang Ying explains in the EUReporter.
Having participated in many forums about OBOR, my general observation is: for the West, OBOR is commonly accepted as a great idea. but the topic invokes lots of questions. Nobody seems to grasp that OBOR can function only as a joint project of all the participants involved. OBOR as an initiative proposed by China, is a global and a century project for helping to rebuild a better world order, however the ownership of OBOR rest with all the involved participants and not with China alone. This becomes evident when you look at the OBOR sister-project —- AIIB (Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank). This project has always been labeled a “crowdfunding, crowd-owned” project.
Responding to such a concern, I believe that besides the East needs more patient and effort to help the West understand OBOR, including its past evidence, current reality, and the proposed prosperity of the future, more stakeholders need to join, and support more proactively the design of the project. My sense is that most of the audience at current is still confused about the rationale behind it, and couldn’t tell the difference between OBOR economic-social-environment formula and the current ones that each has been used to deal with for the current order of the world; meaning that different parties hold different calculations for OBOR, either desperate to attract Chinese investment, or hostile blaming unbalanced trade with China. Objectively speaking: All of these attitudes are not fact-respecting, with three arguments: Firstly, as for the world order in the past, if accepting the principle of competitive advantage, this opinion shouldn’t be supported, since respecting the rationale of competitive advantage and acknowledging the consequence of competitive advantage for each participants is the condition of free-market market; Secondly, as for the world order in the future, accepting the drive of the change and the consequences of the world order revision is the condition as well. Third, as for the current, accepting emerging countries such as China coming back (or saying catching up) and even leading up especially in terms of economy is the condition for the next round of preparation for globally inclusive growth.
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