Forum on China’s new Silk Road initiative reveals opportunities for U.S. companies

Atlanta, March 3, 2017 — Over 170 business executives from Georgia and Southeast attended a forum on “One Belt, One Road”, China’s led initiative on infrastructure projects and investments in Asia Pacific, Europe, and African nations.

“OBOR is not a China project specifically. This is a China led-initiative to re-globalize,” said Ralph Chow, Regional Director Americas at Hong Kong Trade Development Council in his introductory remark.

The forum features an opening remark by Minister Tian Deyou, Economic and Commercial Minister Counselor of People’s Republic of China in Washington DC.

Quoting a popular Tang Dynasty saying, “If you wish to make yourself rich, you should build a road” — the initiative was launched modeling the ancient Silk Roads. However, the latest initiative involved 6 major corridors involving over 60 countries and over 100 international supporting organizations.

Minister Tian added that by bringing the infrastructure initiatives to international arena, “it will bring wealth to the people. It will also improve connectivity and build better connectivity for the countries involved.”

A panel discussion involving 3 panelist to give their insights and views on the OBOR initiative: Nicholas Kwan, Director of Research, HKTDC, Hong Kong, Henry Yu, President of Hong Kong Association of Atlanta, COO of Asian Consortium group, and Minister Tian DeYou, Minister from the People’s Republic of China.

Nicholas Kwan provided a humorous analogy comparison for the OBOR and the defunct Transpacific Trade Partnership (TPP), “it is best to describe OBOR as traditional Chinese medicine therapy and TPP as Western medicine therapy.”

“Traditional Chinese medicine tends to be wholistic and organic; whereas Western medicine is more targeted and focused,” adds Kwan.

Kwan further shares with the attendees that OBOR has 5 key distinctive features: OBOR is inclusive and mutually beneficial to every party involved. The initiative is not limited to the ancient Silk Road model. OBOR fully utilize market mechanism and follow international corruption practices. Lastly, connectivity through policy, facility, trade, finance, and people.

Henry Yu provided specific examples of international financing deals on OBOR. Over $126 billion of contracts have been signed to date, according to Yu.

James Suciu, President, Global Sales and Marketing, GE Power & Water, shared his insights on his company involvement with OBOR during the luncheon keynote address.

The event was jointly organized by the China Program at The Carter Center and Hong Kong Association of Atlanta.

Minister Tian Deyou, Minister Counselor of Economic and Commercial Affairs, Embassy of People’s Republic of China in Washington DC.