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Belt and Road Initiative to Boost International Cooperation: WIPO Chief

China's Belt and Road Initiative is expected to enhance greater international cooperation while fostering multilateral ties between participating countries, the World Intellectual Property Organisation's (WIPO) director general told Xinhua in an interview.

"I think the Belt and Road Initiative will support the multilateral framework, enabling participating countries to reinforce and use the international agreements that are in place," Francis Gurry said.

"I think the initiative is a stepping stone to internationalizing on a greater scale what can be achieved more easily in a regional initiative like the Belt and Road Initiative," he added.

Gurry made these remarks ahead of a high-level Belt and Road forum for international cooperation scheduled to take place on May 14-15 in Beijing.

The Australian national, who has been at the helm of WIPO since 2008, noted that the event would enable global stakeholders to take stock of what has been achieved and review plans going forward.

He welcomed the implementation of a new approach to commercial relationships, one which highlights the importance of developing key infrastructure to boost future trade ties.

This is particularly important for developing countries which often lack the required roads, railways, ports, and telecommunication facilities required to trade at full capacity.

As far as WIPO is concerned, Gurry considered the Belt and Road Initiative a "wonderful opportunity," enabling the Geneva-based organisation to "intensify the cooperation that exists under our international agreements and systems."

The official reminded that China had made extraordinary progress in its intellectual property, especially in terms of the number of patent applications filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).

WIPO reported in March that China had filed 43,168 applications under the organisation's PCT last year, the third largest number after the United States and Japan.

This figure is significantly higher than the 29,839 applications recorded two years ago, and well above the 1,707 filings documented in 2004.

"The rise in use of PCT by Chinese enterprises and individuals has been something quite exceptional," said Gurry, who expected Asia's economic powerhouse to soon rise to first position.

Considering the recent upsurge in anti-globalization rhetoric across the world, Gurry not only welcomed the Belt and Road Initiative, but also hailed Chinese President Xi Jinping's pro-globalization stance during his state visit to Switzerland earlier this year.

"Xi's message that he is looking for better globalisation, not less globalisation, and looking for win-win solutions, is an extremely encouraging and needed message in this world," he concluded.

(Xinhua News Agency May 8, 2017)

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