The Silk Road Economic Belt is an ambitious development project encompassing mostly former European countries that are members of the European Union. It was launched in late 2021 and aims at unifying the various economies of the region through investment, trade, technology sharing. Experts believe that the creation of the Silk Road will help expand the global economy by over a hundred billion dollars. The plan is designed to increase the size of the European Union within the decade.
The members of this emerging economic super corridor are planning to deepen political and economic cooperation with their neighbors, eventually leading to the formation of the European Union as well as the World Trade Organization. However, the main aim of all these nations is to protect their national currencies from global competition. There are some countries that have already made the decision to join the super corridor. These include, Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, the European Union, and the United States of America. There is also a future Islamic economic hub that is slowly developing in the Middle East.
This new economic zone includes mostly emerging and developing countries. It will primarily consist of countries that are members of the Asian-Pacific economic pool. While there is no clear vision or strategy available for the development of this area yet, there are certain trends that can be observed. For one, the reorientation of the regional focus away from the Western world towards the East and Asia is already underway. Experts predict that this trend will further boost bilateral trade between Asian countries and promote the free flow of goods and services across the board Silk Road economic belt.
One of the most promising prospects for the future of the Silk Road Economic Belt is the opening up of political and economic exchanges and cooperation. This will provide an unprecedented window of opportunity to Asian nations. For instance, India is in dire need of technological assistance to develop its textile industry. Pakistan needs assistance in terms of its military establishment and in improving its air transport services. Economists predict that such opportunities will further open up several routes for the trade and finance between the regions. They will also create more jobs for the population in these respective nations.
Trade in the Middle East has largely relied on oil and natural gas. However, experts believe that these sources will dry up in the foreseeable future due to the growing demand for other forms of energy and fuel. The potential of oil and gas supplies in the Middle East and Asia should be properly explored to avoid possible sabotage by forces outside the region. On the contrary, alternative sources of energy and fuel have been steadily growing in recent years. These include hydropower, geothermal, solar, and wind power.
Because of their geographic location, countries in the Middle East and Asia will have a major say in shaping the direction of trade in the region. For example, China is becoming increasingly self-sufficient in the production of commodities such as steel, cement, and coal. India, in particular, is exploring methods to increase the use of domestic steel production while Pakistan is exploring ways to boost its coal production. These two countries along with Vietnam, Malaysia, and Singapore have a combined total of more than 2 trillion dollars in trade with each other.
Because of the increasing cross-cultural connectivity that develops due to transportation and infrastructure development, both South and Central Asia will experience a new wave of globalization. For example, the developing nations of south Asia such as India, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia will become major providers of consumer goods and services, while the developed nations of the east such as China will become important sources of consumer goods and services. Trade between the east and the west will become increasingly integrated.
Silk Road Economic Belt and Road project will contribute to the growth of international cooperation and connectivity in the regional, global, and regional economy. It is anticipated that regional trade will reach $1 trillion annually by 2021. This success will stimulate more investments in the region and increase living standards for people all around the world.