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ational Cooperation, to be held in Beijing on Thursday through Saturday, S
ong said the ministry will help deepen economic and trade cooperation with other coun
tries. “China will build more free trade zones with countries that are willing to do so,” Song added.
“As for the existing free trade zones, we will reduce administrative barriers in trade
and investment and push the formation of a big Belt and Road marketplace.”
While some critics have argued that the initiative will lead countries i
nto debt traps, Song said debt can be solved through joint efforts to promote the devel
opment of BRI economies. “Even though some countries may have high debt levels, as their pace of indus
trialization, urbanization and modernization accelerates, their debts will gradually decrease.”
Joe Kaeser, president and CEO of Siemens AG, said, “If an initiative like the BRI unifies more than two-thirds of the global
population, it will create massive infrastructure and economic movement that will build its own rules.”
tment, and it could also leverage on more bank lending and attract private funds to increase investment, said Xu.
In the meantime, allowing retail access to local government bonds will help diversify the
investor base and increase market liquidity, said Amanda Du, an analyst at Moody’s Investors Service.
The analyst expected access for retail investors to widen to encompass all local government bonds in 2020.
hina’s economy grew at a faster-than-expected 6.4 percent year-on-year in the first qua
rter, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday.
The growth was unchanged from that registered in the fourth quarter of last year.
The country’s industrial output posted steady growth in the same period, up by 6.5 percent
year-on-year, compared with 5.7 percent in the previous quarter, official data showed.
Fixed-asset investment growth was 6.3 percent in the first quarte
r, compared with 6.1 percent in the first two months, according to the NBS.
Retail sales increased by 8.3 percent year-on-year in the same pe
riod, compared with 8.2 percent in the first two months, the data showed.