The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), officially unveiled in 2013, is China’s landmark foreign and economic policy initiative to achieve improved connectivity, regional cooperation, and economic development on a trans-continental scale. China has promoted the BRI as a cooperative initiative that will lead to a win-win situation for both China and BRI partner countries. However, there are many different views and pushbacks against the BRI and suspicions of China’s underlying intentions. Impacts of the BRI can be assessed either through a model-based quantitative study or through a broadly representative survey. Our paper used the latter approach as we were not aware of any such study in the past. We implemented an online survey from 20 June to 19 July 2019 which over 1,200 Asian opinion leaders responded to. Asian opinion leaders were defined as policy makers, academics, businesses, and media practitioners from 26 Asian countries that have signed a BRI agreement with China. Stakeholders’ perspectives on the following issues were solicited: (i) why China might have been interested in launching the BRI; (ii) perceived benefits and risks to countries participating in the BRI; and (iii) policies that the stakeholders would like to recommend both to China and their own governments. Though mixed views on the specifics of the BRI emerged, respondents generally felt that the BRI was a positive development facilitating international economic cooperation and development. The recommendations of this survey should be of some use in making the BRI a truly win-win initiative for all.
About the Authors
Dr Pradumna B. Rana is Visiting Associate Professor at the Centre for Multilateralism Studies of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU). Prior to this, he worked for 25 years at the Asian Development Bank and for 3 years at the National University of Singapore (NUS). His last appointment at the ADB was Senior Director of the Office of Regional Economic Integration which spearheads the ADB’s support for Asian economic integration. He obtained his PhD from Vanderbilt University where he was a Fulbright Scholar and a Masters in Economics from Michigan State University and Tribhuvan University (Gold Medalist). He is an Associate Editor for the Singapore Economic Review. He has authored/edited 20 books, and published over 50 articles in peer-reviewed international academic journals. He recently co-authored a book entitled Jump-starting South Asia: Round Two of Reforms and Look East Policies (Oxford, University Press 2018). He has published widely in internationally reputed journals such as the Journal of International Economics, The Review of Economic and Statistics, Journal of Development Economics, World Development, International Trade Journal, Journal of Asian Economics, Singapore Economic Review, East Asian Economic Review, Global Governance, and Global Policy.
Dr Wai-Mun Chia is an Associate Professor of Economics at the Division of Economics, Nanyang Technological University. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of London with First Class Honours in 1996. She was then awarded the Datuk Paduka Hajjah Saleha Ali Academic Outstanding Award in 1997. In 1998, with the support of the London School of Economics (LSE) Scholarship, she pursued her Master’s degree at LSE. In 2006, she graduated with a PhD degree from NTU. Prior to joining NTU, she was an industry analyst at the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers. Her current research interests are international macroeconomics, economic integration in East Asia and cost-benefit analysis. She is an Associate Editor to the Singapore Economic Review and Treasurer of the Economic Society of Singapore. She is also a research consultant to the ASEAN Secretariat. She has published widely in internationally reputable journals such as Applied Economics, World Economy, Journal of Asian Economics, Economic Record and Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control. She also consulted various government agencies in Singapore including National Environment Agency (NEA), Land Transport Authority (LTA), Building and Construction Authority (BCA), Singapore Police Force (SPF) and Ministry of Community, Youth and Sports (MCYS). In recognition of her contributions in research and teaching, she was awarded the National Day Commendation Award in 2011.
Dr Xianbai Ji is a research fellow with the International Political Economy Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He obtained his PhD from RSIS in 2019 as a Nanyang President’s Graduate Scholar. He was formerly Europa Visiting Fellow to The Australian National University and Visiting Fellow to European Union Centre in Singapore. He works on China’s Belt and Road Initiative, international economic relations, trade diplomacy, global economic governance and European integration.
Central Asia / East Asia and Asia Pacific / General / International Political Economy / Regionalism and Multilateralism / South Asia / Southeast Asia and ASEAN / Working Papers
Last updated on 02/07/2020