2nd Belt & Road Forum for International Cooperation

Starting with 01.01.2020 the Peoples Republic of China enforces a revised Foreign Investment Law further opening up Chinese Economy for foreign goods and services helping countries with economies steeped in export of commodities and manufactured products. In particular reforms in IPR protection law were even already pulled up in becoming effective 18.03.2019 waiving enforced Technology Transfers, continued use-rights after cease of license contracts and now allows licensors to participate in IP-improvements in the course of background know-how use by Chinese parties.

Foreign Investors will be put on equal footing with their National Partners (or counterparts). Newly developing International Commercial Courts in China now are accepting English proceedings and will allow to appoint foreign expert judges, previously regularly turned down by Provincial Constitutions. While barriers to enter the Chinese market get eliminated obligatory reporting systems and controls over operations are going to be extended. Wholly foreign owned subsidiaries represent full Chinese legal bodies and therefore fall under domestic jurisdiction.

Since the BRI’s first announcement in 2013 the regions along the routs experienced tremendous, sometimes fundamental developmental transformations. Among BRI’s five basic principles is policy coordination driving China to signing up memoranda of cooperation or strategic partnerships beyond close neighbors stretch out as far as Switzerland, Italy and in a forum’s side-event also with Austria. Following the principle of facility linkage many infrastructural projects with Chinese involvement sprouted along the Belt & Road. Perhaps China was overenthusiastic in trying to assist poorly developed livelihoods and communities to improve their physical linkages, lack of basic amenities as well as railways and roads to achieve people-to-people bonds more efficiently. While therefore BRI principles of trade facilitation and capital fluidity dominated the 1st Forum in 2017, the 2nd Forum distinctively shifted emphasis from hardware towards “Quality Development” having to be open, clean and green. “Cleanliness” herein refers to joint efforts in combating corruption and abuses which have been plaguing many developing and emerging countries. “Green” means BRI projects to be minimally environmentally invasive with sustainable management of regenerative resources and optimal use of renewable energy.

In times of numerous conspiratorial speculations about BRI possibly being a hidden Chinese agenda to reach global dominance it is a pity the world can’t unite on BRI as an opportunity to bring UN’s SDGs forward unbiasedly jointly. The BRI is, last but not least is a tremendous chance to reduce inequalities, peacefully sharing a good life in balance with Nature by collaborating in efficiency improvements across all explored resources under shared knowledge and education to benefit future generations. Carbotopia™ for example illustrated that switching from current “Linear Carbon Economy” to “Circular Carbon Economy” practice could create additional added value in locally closed loop economies in an order of U$1.2trl a year. Today most economies send almost twice that money out of their countries to plunge it in foreign oil-wells, replenishing Carbon at 2.5 barrel crude oil per Tonne emitted CO₂. Maybe that’s why China’s government agency signed an LOI with Carbotopia™?

A BRI executed on the basis of a “more of the same” economic model of our industrialized world though could be the biggest threat. Its limited affordability and excessive overconsumption of one-way single use resources would create new scarcities provoking even more inequalities and poverty by sky-rocketing commodity prices for choking the air enticing new migration flows towards supposedly more livable locations potentially causing unrest and violence there. Therefore China’s BRI and UN’s SDGs must go forward “together”!

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