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[Economics] Will America's plan to connect Asia with Europe abort China's Belt and Road Initiative?


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The upcoming economic corridor project linking South Asia and Europe via the Arabian Gulf and the Middle East, which was recently announced at the G20 summit, is an important strategic development in the world of global politics and economics.

The huge project, supported by the United States, aims to connect the continents of Asia, Europe and Africa through railways and maritime transport, as it consists of two separate corridors, one linking India to the Arabian Gulf and the other linking the Arabian Gulf to Europe, in clear competition to the Belt and Road Initiative that China launched 10 years ago. Years.


G20 Leaders' Summit 2023 begins in New Delhi


The new route between India and Europe via the Middle East

The importance of the project and its objectives
The new project represents a strategic turning point in international economic development and the enhancement of trade exchange through an integrated network of railway lines and sea lanes, at a time of escalating global challenges and the urgent need to enhance international cooperation.

Economist Yahya Al-Sayyid Omar says that the proposed project is still in the idea stage, and its implementation steps or precise path have not been clear yet.

In his interview with Al Jazeera Net, Mr. Omar explains that the American project, in its initial form, links India to the Middle East, specifically to the Arab Gulf states, by sea, and this is described as the eastern line. As for the northern line, it connects the Arab Gulf states to Jordan and Israel by railway, and from Israel it is connected by sea to the coasts. Southern Europe, specifically France and Italy, and from there to the countries of Central, Northern and Western Europe by railway.

The economist believes that the American goal of the project is political, in order to disrupt or influence the Chinese Belt and Road project, as the economic effectiveness of the project appears modest compared to the benefits of the Belt and Road project.

He points out that the countries currently benefiting from the project are India, the Arab Gulf states, Jordan, Israel, and the European Union, and an initial cooperation agreement was signed between the United States, the Emirates, Saudi Arabia, France, Italy, and Germany.

As for the affected countries, Mr. Omar says that they are the countries of Central and Western Asia, which are part of the Belt and Road project, in addition to China. Turkey will also be harmed because it plans to be an international trade node, and perhaps Egypt will be the most affected because the project, if implemented, will negatively affect the Suez Canal. .

Regarding comparing the American project with the Chinese Belt and Road project, Mr. Omar believes that the Chinese project is more applicable compared to the American project, and that the Chinese project is based on a huge network of sea and land trade lines that connect a large number of countries.

For his part, economic expert Ahmed Dhikrallah stresses the importance of the project because it enhances trade, energy transfer, and digital communication. It also works to accelerate trade exchange between East and West, especially between Europe and India, as some estimates indicate that it saves about 40% of the usual time.

In his interview with Al Jazeera Net, Zikr Allah believes that the project - in addition to its economic importance - is gaining “political importance from the American and Israeli point of view, because it works to accelerate the pace of normalization between Israel and some Gulf countries,” and it also comes within the framework of the American-Chinese competition, and what could Call it the trade war between Washington and Beijing that has been raging for years.

Zikrallah believes that the American and Chinese projects are similar in terms of goals, but they differ in the way. The new project includes strategic focal points that work to further integrate Israel into the region, and also establishes the stages of a deeper partnership between the West and the East through trade rules.

Belt and Road China's Silk Road

International geopolitical rivalry
Countries and major organizations are likely to compete to benefit from this project and its opportunities, making it an important meeting point for global powers to achieve their interests and enhance their geopolitical influence.

Regarding the motives for the new project, Turkish researcher Mehmet Raqiboğlu says that the repercussions of the war in Ukraine pushed the United States and Europe into an alliance to confront the moves of China and Russia, and America is also trying to prevent China from strengthening its economic power.

In his conversation with Al Jazeera Net, Raqiboğlu ruled out the ability of the new project to compete with the Chinese project that preceded it many years. The impact of the American project will not be radical, but it is a great opportunity to enhance trade exchange between Asia and Europe.

He notes that the shaking of trust between the countries of the region and the United States, as well as the great Chinese influence, are among the biggest challenges threatening the new project.

Regarding the statements of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan regarding the need for the new project to be carried out in coordination with the Belt and Road Initiative, the Turkish researcher confirms that “Erdogan is a pragmatic politician who prefers balanced dealing with all powers and does not want to be with China and leave the United States, or vice versa. Rather, Turkey is trying to benefit.” Of both projects together.

3- The new project represents a strategic turning point in international economic development - Reuters
The new project is a strategic turning point in international economic development (Reuters)
Its impact on the countries of the region
The participants in the new corridor project are counting on its ability to significantly change the course of development, affecting the economies, security, and policies of the countries of the region.

Muhammad Suleiman Al-Zawawi, professor of political science at the Turkish University of Sakarya, expects that this project will enhance the security of clean and renewable energy, as well as the process of transporting goods across South Asia to Europe, and securing the latter’s energy supplies, and then it will contribute to the stability of the Middle East after integrating the interests of the Gulf states. In Israel and Europe.

Speaking to Al Jazeera Net, Al-Zawawi expresses his belief that the project will take advantage of the new Saudi city of NEOM, which is planned to be a center for attracting global investments in renewable energy projects.





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