BRF creates good opportunity for global cooperation

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Anupat Tiprat talks with his parents outside their house in Hua Hin district of Prachuap Khiri Khan Province, Thailand, on March 15, 2019. Twenty-one year old Anupat Tiprat has been dreaming to become a train driver in his home country Thailand. He is scheduled to travel to northern Chinese city of Tianjin late April to learn train maintenance and driving for three years. From Cambodia to Ethiopia to Georgia, economic and industrial zones have become an increasingly important dimension of international cooperation within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Speaking at a sub-forum on Thursday at the ongoing second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF), senior officials from around the world called for closer BRI cooperation to make better use of such special zones and create more win-win results. Georgian Vice Prime Minister Maya Tskitishvili said her country established a free industrial zone for global businesses and inked a free trade agreement with both China and the European Union (EU). Saudi Arabia's Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources, Khalid A. Al-Falih, said China and his country share "bonds between the two ends of Asia" that go back centuries. To Ethiopian Minister of Finance Ahmed Shide, "cooperation zones are very important for industrialization," as they enhance "ease of doing business" and can serve as "a good experiment in industrialization." Nguyen Chi Dung, Vietnam's minister of planning and investment, said the BRI is an opportunity to acquire knowledge and new management methods. Secretary General of the Thailand Board of Investment Duangjai Asawachintachit told the sub-forum that her country is looking to move out of the middle-income trap and is "working to improve its business ecosystem." Calling for more BRI cooperation with China, Secretary General of the Council for the Development of Cambodia Sok Chenda Sophea said advantages of its industrial parks for Chinese companies include Cambodia's strategic location in the Mekong region and its young population compared to other Asian nations. Vivencio Dizon, president and chief executive officer of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority of the Philippines, said he has visited several parks in China and thinks that China "shows the way to the rest of the world on how to run parks." The BRI is "critical to move our countries forward" in Southeast Asia, he said, adding that it is also "a strategic initiative amid the uncertainties facing the world." (Xinhua/Yang Zhou)