Last year, China overtook the United States as the largest trading partner for goods, a historic turning point caused by Europeans ’preference for Chinese medical equipment and electronics during the Kovit-19 epidemics.
As part of China’s Belt and Road initiative, these products are increasingly coming to Europe through a new trade corridor built with Chinese support, including railways, airports and port centers, a huge global close infrastructure initiative. From the rest of China… the world.
These investments have lubricated trade wheels between China and Europe, raising long-neglected and severely affected cities such as Duisburg in Germany and Liege in Belgium.
Western officials, including the United States, have accused China of using the belt and road to besiege debt-poor countries. The Chinese government has denied the allegations.
Beijing is unlikely to leave the Chinese economy once it recovers, as the epidemic casts a shadow over the belt and road prospects.
In Europe, China has adopted its approach, sometimes working without radar with local authorities and companies. China supports trains and tracks, while large companies such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Orientation and need.
This will help Beijing better connect rich countries with China. Because of European trade relations with China, it did not want to join Washington’s efforts to turn it against the Asian company.
The number of freight trains operating between China and Europe exceeded 12,400 last year, 50% from 2019 and seven times higher than in 2016, according to Chinese officials. According to Chinese state media, the demand for trains was very high. Companies introduced the lottery system to allocate space.
The World Bank estimates that road and belt infrastructure will increase trade by up to 10% in countries along this route.
Both Liege and Duisburg are part of the belt and road initiative, although according to Chinese state media and local port officials, it has not been officially signed by Germany and Belgium.
“In less enchanting gray areas such as infrastructure and supply chains, there is very little media and much understanding of the compulsion of political interest and economic integration,” said Bruno Masois, a former Portuguese minister who wrote a book on the road project.
Despite a broad investment agreement that was freely agreed in December, European political relations with China have deteriorated in recent months. While many European manufacturers rely heavily on China’s appetite for cars, luxury goods and other goods, they are increasingly concerned that China will gain market share in sectors such as manufacturing and modern engineering.
In the field of infrastructure, Mr Massis said China’s presence and knowledge of Europe was very welcome.
Chinese shipping groups hold or share ownership of terminals in about ten European ports, including Antwerp, Rotterdam, Valencia and Marseille.
U.S. officials have warned their European counterparts against trusting China. The United States, in conjunction with Japan and Australia, introduced a highly defined global infrastructure plan in 2019.
In the West German steel city of Duisburg, which handles one-third of rail freight between Europe and China, trade with China increased by 70% last year. Built by Chinese company Casco Shipping Holdings, the new station will help expand Chinese trade to 40% to 100 trains a week, local officials said.
“For Duisburg, it’s a heavenly mana,” said Marcus Thubb, a professor of East Asian economics at the University of Duisburg in Essen.
Train speeds compared to the sea route are a valuable alternative for manufacturers of perishable or time-sensitive products and high-value products such as electronics. Port manager Eric Stock said European industrial and consumer goods are being exported to China in partnership with Chinese internet company JT.com.
A spokesman for the German railway company Deutsche Ban AG operates trains between Poland, Belarus and Kazakhstan between 17 European countries and China. He said some studies may have operated hundreds of thousands of trains on Europe-China tracks in the 1930s.
The railway was recently strengthened as the Suez Canal was closed.
Chinese investment supports 23,000 jobs in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, which is located in Duisburg and the industrial hub of Ruhr, while Chinese Economy Minister Andreas Pinkward has invested in more than 1,000 local companies in China.
In the Belgian city of Liege, which has seen a decline in the steel industry, air cargo has risen by 50% in the two years since Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba chose the city as its hub, partly due to lower price competitors in China. Europe, according to Stephen. Verhaeuslt manages the airport sales department.
“Every month in 2020 was a record and now in 2021 we are growing at 20% per annum,” he said.
With the support of the Belgian authorities, the airport was connected to the quiet railway station and created a customs area. Six trains now operate between Liege and China, the first specialized e-commerce service between the Yangtze Delta region of China, Central Asia and Europe.
That is all until Ali Baba completes the construction of the new center. If other Chinese companies want to use it, Mr Verhaselt expects cargo to reach two million tonnes a year over the next four years, comparable to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport and Frankfurt International Airport.
The expansion of the airport has created about 1,000 jobs in a region with the highest unemployment rate in the last two years. The Belgian Postal Service and other non-Chinese companies are increasingly using the new railroad. Flights and trains returning to China carry powdered milk, leather goods, European products including salmon and cheese. The plane that had returned empty is now 80% full.
Mr Verhaeld said the railroad to China was one of the requirements Alibaba had when choosing its European hub. “Belt and Road is a success story in the league because of Ali Bob,” he said.
An Alibaba spokesman said the company was investing 100 100 million, equivalent to $ 119 million, to build a logistics center at Liege Airport, which will be operational this year, under an agreement with the Belgian region of Wallonia.
Alexander Alban, managing partner of German machine parts manufacturer Walter Shimmel GmbH, said Express Rail offers a decisive advantage to Chinese manufacturers competing in Europe. Italian merchants claim that the Chinese were expelled from the German industrial supply chain and that they can now move heavy industrial goods to the heart of Europe quickly and cheaply.
In January and February, Chinese exports to the EU increased by 63% year-on-year, while imports from Europe increased by 33%.
However, tension prevails. According to a source familiar with the matter, US officials recently warned German officials about China’s plans to expand its operations in Duisburg. In Portugal, where Chinese companies are considering building a port terminal for containers, the US ambassador recently warned that Portugal should choose between the US and China.
Chinese investment in Piraeus, near Athens, has helped transform Greece’s main port from economic stagnation into Europe’s fourth busiest port over the past decade.
Casco, which controls the port, is proposing to build a fourth container terminal, which will allow it to double trade again, comparing Piraeus to European ports such as Hamburg.
Nectarios Diminopoulos, spokesman for the Prius Port Authority, said ten trains a week were building the new railway line connecting Prius Port to Eastern European markets, including the Czech Republic, carrying 100,000 containers a year.
Greece has not yet approved Cosco’s expansion plans. Greek officials have complained that the Chinese company has benefited the most. But after Cosco announced last month that it would build a playground for locals, Byrus mayor Ionis Morales expressed confidence that the port would soon be better integrated with the city.
This story was published from a news agency feed without editing the text.