15 July 2016
Opportunities for Scotland in One Belt One Road
By Thompson Chau, The Asia Scotland Institute
In March 2015, China issued a document entitled “Vision and Actions on Jointly Building Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road”, outlining the blueprint of the One Belt One Road Initiative (OBOR). The initiative not only represents a national and coordinated push to expand China’s influence abroad, but is also coupled with a domestic investment drive, involving almost every Chinese province. China’s ambassadors to countries situated from Africa to Southeast Asia are already securing assurances of collaboration on OBOR. Similarly, Chinese provinces have begun to invest in infrastructural projects and construct logistics centres in anticipation of growing trade and interaction with OBOR countries. Described as “the most significant and far-reaching initiative that China has ever put forward”, OBOR will increase the demand for Scotland’s leading export industries, professional services and universities among the regions involved. Along the five routes (shown in Figure 1), five OBOR goals were proposed: policy coordination; facilities connectivity; unimpeded trade; financial integration; and people to people bonds. While Chinese institutions and SOEs (state-owned enterprises) are expected to take the lead, these five areas of connectivity will offer organisations and individuals in Scotland a whole new spectrum of opportunities to play a role in shaping the economic development and integration across the three continents. OBOR is not a solo performance by China. It is a symphony orchestra in which the Scottish bagpipe is surely going to have its part...
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