Belgium hopes to join AIIB: Deputy PM

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A leading Belgian politician has revealed his country is hoping to become a new member of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank.

The move is believed to be part of a broader initiative to by the Belgian government to attach itself more closely with the Chinese government’s ‘belt and road’ initiative.

Deputy Belgian Prime Minister Kris Peeters has told a Belt and Road forum organized by the Chinese embassy in Brussels that Belgium hopes to become a member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank sometime this coming year.

He suggests this is part a bigger plan to become more closely linked to the movement of goods through the Chinese government’s ‘belt and road’ initiative.

“We have much to gain with this initiative. Belgium hopes to become a member the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank next year. Moreover the Belgian ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge are ready to contribute to the success of the Belt and Road Initiative.”

China’s ambassador to Belgium, Qu Xing, says Belgium is strategically located in Europe for the ‘belt and road’ plan.

“Regarding the facilities connectivity, in September this year, one month ago, a bloc train of the China railway express arrived for the first time in Antwerp from Xining, in Qinghai province to Antwerp. A Chinese logistics company based in Chengdu is planning to invest for the construction of a Euro-Africa-China trans-shipment center in Antwerp. Once the center comes into operation, Antwerp will become a frequent destination of the China railway express. ”

Frank Geerkens with the Antwerp Port Authority says trade with China has allowed his port to become the fastest growing in Europe.

“I’m very happy here to say again the port of Antwerp is a privileged partner for one-belt and one road. One major reason is that it’s also a port that exports goods. You see the trade flows between China and Europe, there is imbalance. More goods coming in that means more containers are loaded that being unloaded and empty when going back. We have a balance between incoming and outgoing container loads. That is one belt and one road again. It is two-way trade cooperation and interconnectivity.”

The “Belt and Road” program already involves already more than 60 countries which represent over half of global GDP.

Source: CRJ English

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