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The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI): Reshaping the Global Value Chain


01 Feb 2018


Global Europe

Leading policy makers and business operators from Europe and China debate the implications of the Belt and Road Initiative at multistakeholder conference in Brussels

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), is China’s grand scheme to link Asia and Europe together via new massive infrastructure projects in Central Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. Announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, the BRI is seeking to rebuild China’s ancient silk routes for the 21st century, looking to build new connections across three continents. The project is very ambitious, but it is still in its infancy.

To shed more light on this important initiative, ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), the EU-Asia Centre, the European Movement International (EMI) and UEAPME organised a multistakeholder conference called The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) : Reshaping the Global Value Chain, to discuss its implications with leading policy makers and business operators from Europe and China. The lively debate provided an insight into the economic and policy implications of the BRI, as well as BRI’s opportunities and challenges for European business.

Maggie McGhee, director of Professional Insights at ACCA opened the debate, saying: ‘BRI could well be the physical embodiment of a globalised world, introducing trade and services that cut across borders and continents. Trade, technology and talent do not recognise borders. Such an ambitious initiative also brings an opportunity to promote and advance sustainability.’

The debate revealed that BRI brings important opportunities for the countries on its route, and could help bridging the infrastructure financing gap, increase connectivity, link local markets to regional and global value chains, thereby increasing trade and investment in these countries. But speakers also highlighted several geopolitical, developmental and regulatory challenges.

‘The Belt and Road Initiative is a demonstration of China’s financial muscle and will be a real challenge for the unity of the EU,’ said Fraser Cameron, Director of the EU-Asia Centre, who moderated the first panel on policy and economic implications.  

BRI’s success and its ability to foster connections between the EU and China will require more than just building physical infrastructure, and any kind of infrastructure - whether land, sea, air or digital - should not be designed in isolation. Soft infrastructure is critical, as well as structural reforms and improvements in investment climate, including the challenge of identifying environmentally sustainable and financially viable projects or of minimising the risk of their failure.

At the session, it was stressed that BRI needs to adhere to principle such as market rules and international standards, and should complement existing network and policies in place, like the EU-China Connectivity platform.

Ada Leung, head of ACCA China, who moderated the second panel said: ‘ACCA’s recent  research projects such as ‘The Belt and Road Initiative: Reshaping the global value chain, Accounting Infrastructure in BRI countries and the Economic benefits of a Modern Silk Road say that for companies to maximise the opportunities offered by BRI, they need to start preparing now. This also means planning for access to talent, and thinking about training professionals with the right blend of work-ready skills.’

Jo Leinen, MEP, Head of the EP EU-China Delegation and Honorary President of European Movement International concluded :’The BRI is one of the most visionary projects for development and infrastructure in the 21st century. But it is a unilateral idea from Beijing and now we have to come to multilateralism otherwise this project will not succeed. Many partners need to come to terms and define the conditions of participation in the BRI. There also should be cooperation between China and the EU towards developing the African continent. We should not compete, but rather create synergies.

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Notes to Editors

About ACCA

For media enquiries, contact:Cecile Bonino, head of EU Affairs; +32 (0) 2 286 11 37 or

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants, offering business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management.

ACCA supports its 200,000 members and 486,000 students in 180 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. ACCA works through a network of 101 offices and centres and more than 7,200 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through its public interest remit, ACCA promotes appropriate regulation of accounting and conducts relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence.

ACCA is currently introducing major innovations to its flagship qualification to ensure its members and future members continue to be the most valued, up to date and sought-after accountancy professionals globally.

About the European Movement International                                          

The European Movement International is the largest pan-European network of pro-European organisations. It is present in over 30 countries and encompasses 36 International Associations, bringing together European business, trade unions, NGOs, political parties, local authorities and academia. Founded nearly 70 years ago, the European Movement has continuously advocated in favour of European co-operation and integration, based on the principles of peace, democracy, liberty, solidarity, equality, justice, the respect for human rights and the rule of law.

Today the European Movement seeks to provide a platform to encourage and facilitate the active participation of citizens and stakeholders from a cross-section of sectors in the development of European solutions to our common challenges. We offer thought leadership on the issues that confront Europe; we seek to inform the debates on our Union’s future, involve citizens and stakeholders in the decisions that affect them and influence policy-makers in favour of an open, inclusive, transparent, sustainable and united Europe.

About the EU-Asia Centre

The EU-Asia Centre is the leading, independent, Brussels-based think tank on EU-Asia relations.

It covers developments in Asia and seeks to promote relations between the EU and Asia.

In maintains close links with the EU institutions. In addition to publishing policy papers and hosting regular events, it provides advice to companies and governments.


Cecile Bonino

Head of EU Affairs

CBI business house
14 rue de la Science
BE-1040 Brussels
Tel:+32 (0) 2 286 11 37
Mob: +44 (0) 7809595008

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