Belt Road Initiative

Tart / CC BY-SA (

9 June 2020

The Belt Road Initiative ("BRI"), formerly known as the One Belt One Road ("OBRI") or the new silk road is a project to improve transport and communications between China and much of the rest of the world. It requires the construction of new roads, railways, harbours, airports, pipelines,  power lines and telecommunications links and the improvement of existing ones between now and 2049 (the 100th anniversary of the Peoples' Republic of China). Estimates of the cost of such projects range from US$4 to US$8 trillion.

The "Belt" refers to the land connections between China and between Europe and China and Southern Asia.  The project involves the construction of new roads, railways, pipelines and electrical cables between China and Europe and between China and the Indian Ocen and improvement of existing ones,

The "Road" refers to the sea lanes between China and Southern Asia, Africa and Latin America. This involves the construction of new ports and the improvement of existing ones as well as their overland connections.

International Agreements
According to a joint report by the China-Britain Business Council and the Chinese Academy of International  Trade and Economic Cooperation, China has negotiated free trade agreements with some 20 countries and memorandums of understanding with some 30 more (see CBBC and CAITEC Belt and Road Initiatives, Southers Roues 2017).

China International Commercial Court
The Supreme People's Court of China has established a special court known as The China International Commercial Court to resolve commercial disputes between Chinese and foreign parties or between exclusively foreign parties.  Such disputes can include disputes that relate to the BRI. The Court sits in Shenzhen and X'ian.  The Court resolves disputes in accordance with Chinese law.  Proceedings are conducted in Chinese before Chinese judges by Chinese counsel. 

Opportunities for British Business
The China British Business Council has identified opportunities for British banks, insurers, asset managers, law firms, accountants, engineering consultants, maritime services and experts in logistics, infrastructure planning, power transmission, public-private partnerships and other fields.  Further information can be obtained from CBBC and the British embassy in Beijing,

Jane Lambert on +44 (0)20 7404 5252.

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