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The Voice from the Caspian Sea
Caspian countries welcome coordination between the Belt and Road Initiative and their own regional development strategy
By Wen Qing | Web Exclusive

On February 6, an international conference on “The Role of the Trans-Caspian East-West Trade and Transit Corridor in the Realization of the Belt and Road Initiative” was held in Beijing. Convened by the Azerbaijan Embassy in China, this meeting was organized by the embassies of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Turkey, and was attended by high-level officials and experts from China and abroad.

The meeting highlighted the concord between the Trans-Caspian Trade and Transit Corridor and China’s Belt and Road Initiative in promoting local infrastructure and improving development. Wang Shouwen, the former Deputy Minister of Commerce, said in the opening speech that the principles of this corridor echo the Belt and Road Initiative, and explained how China is ready to work with countries along this route to improve interconnectivity and create a better future.

Shahin Mustafayev, Minister of Economy and also Chairman of the Transit Council of the Republic of Azerbaijan, said that the Belt and Road Initiative was crucial to the implementation of the Trans-Caspian Trade and Transit Corridor, and that Azerbaijan would be committed to synergizing these two strategies.

Considering the geographical location of these four countries, they could play a major role in facilitating connectivity between China and Europe. Another important feature of the corridor is the Buku-Tbillisi-Kars project, the most efficient railway connecting Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, which offers a new route for trade between China and Europe. Currently around 96 percent of goods transported between China and Europe are done so by ship, requiring 60 days each way. The transportation of goods via railway is significantly quicker, taking just 14 days.

Copyedited by Laurence Coulton
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wenqing@bjreview.com

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