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Chairman Lu's Speech at Development Cooperation Conference on Joint Construction of the Belt and Road in Beirut, Lebanon
24 May 2017

Innovate Cooperation Mechanism for the Belt and Road Construction

 

Speech by Mr. Lu Jianzhong, Chairman of SRCIC,  

at Development Cooperation Conference

      on Joint Construction of the Belt and Road

6 April 2017, Beirut, Lebanon

 

Your Excellency Prime Minister Saad Hariri,

Chairman Adnan Kassar,

Chairman Nael Kabariti

Chairman Mohammad Choucair

Ladies, gentlemen, and friends:

 

Greetings from SRCIC!

 

I’ve come from the starting point of the ancient Silk Road, Xi’an city of China, one of the birthplaces of 5,000 years Chinese civilization, flying all the way westward to arrive here in Beirut, one of the most important cities on the Silk Road, equally brilliant for a history of 5,000 years. 5,000 years of oriental civilizations are the pride of both cities and the Silk Road 2,000 years ago bequeathed the two places with legends and heritage of cultural blending. Today we gather here not only to look back into history of the Silk Road but more importantly to write a new chapter of pragmatic cooperation in the Belt and Road construction. Please allow me, on behalf of Silk Road Chamber of International Commerce,to extend my sincere gratitude to Your Excellency Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Chairman Adnan Kassar, Chairman Nael Kabariti, Chairman Mohammad Choucair, for your great support of the Development Cooperation Conference on Joint Construction of the Belt and Road, and also my warm welcome to all of you for your participation in this Conference out of your busy schedules.

 

Lebanon stands in the centre of Asia, Europe and Africa. It’s the original site of the Phoenicians, full of history, culture and commercial spirit. The ancient Phoenicians created Phoenician alphabet that became the origins of Arab and Latin languages, contributing greatly to the progress of human civilizations. Beirut was an important city on the ancient Silk Road; the Phoenicians were the earliest merchants who sold Chinese silk and porcelain to Europe and the Mediterranean countries. The following thousand years witnessed the constant flows of caravans and merchant shipping in and out of Beirut, a gate of the Middle East and a transfer centre of the logistics between the east and the west. The ancient lighthouse and the Silk Road station in Tripoli are the proof of the Lebanese people’s great contribution to the prosperity of the ancient Silk Road.

 

Today, in the framework of the Belt and Road construction, the Arabian Peninsula has become the convergence of land and maritime Silk Roads and an important central area of the Belt and Road. Beirut has adopted a development formula of Financing + Tourism + Geographical advantage to have achieved notable results in all round pragmatic business. 

 

Lebanon and many other Arab countries are the first to respond to the Belt and Road Initiative. An over-all Sino-Arab strategic partnership is established. The Arab countries have become China’s largest supplier of crude oil and China in return has been No.1 commodity provider to the Arab countries. Bilateral and multilateral collaboration has got deep, research entities are set up, and cultural exchanges are frequent and colorful. 

 

In January this year, artists from China and other Silk Road countries put on large stage shows from Sailing through Time to Crossing the Silk Road in Caracalla Dance Theatre, representing the Silk Road cultural legacy and the booming business then. 

 

We admire the above–mentioned achievements. They are the success under the leadership of Your Excellency Prime Minister Saad Hariri, and also stand for the key roles played by Federation of Arabia Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and Lebanon Association of Farming, Commerce and Industry in pragmatic economic and business cooperation of the Arab world.

 

Among all these achievements, Chairman Kassar was the powerful initiator for Lebanon to sign the trade agreement with the new China in 1950’s. Chairman Kassar visited China more than 50 times and has worked for more than half a century for the Sino-Arab friendship. In January 2016, Chinese President Xi Jinping granted China-Arabia Friendship Award to Chairman Kassar for his outstanding contributions.

 

Chairman Kasaar was ICC Chairman. His prestige and authority shed strong international influence. He is our respected business leader and beloved friend. We are very grateful since he agrees to be SRCIC Honorary Chairman.

 

In today’s world of uncertainty, the Belt and Road Initiative embodies oriental wisdom and promotes development cooperation, which fits in with the interests of the peoples in different countries. More than 100 countries have given active response to the Initiative and the notion of “the Belt and Road” construction, and the “construction of human destiny community” has become UN Security Council resolutions. The Silk Road spirit of “Peace and Cooperation, Openness and Inclusiveness, Mutual Learning and Mutual Benefit” is the consensus among business communities, international sectors, and in Lebanon and the Arab world. I think the Belt and Road Initiative is a golden key to the Arab region’s social stability, economic recovery, barrier removal, and synergy support. 

 

It was against such historical background and it was for the opportunities brought out by the Belt and Road Initiative that Silk Road Chamber of International Commerce was established in Hong Kong in December 2015 by 36 state-leveled business chambers and confederations. Currently SRCIC has 63 state-level members, serving as a bridge and tie for the communication between enterprises and governments, as a platform among its members, and the new strength in the promotion of the Belt and Road construction.

 

To well serve its members and promote the related countries in pragmatic cooperation, SRCIC takes the idea of mutual development and mutual benefit in forging platforms of 7 professional committees in Trade, Finance, Culture, Energy, Transportation, Information and Industrial Parks, and co-founded 7 sub-organizations including www.eSilkRoad.com, Silk Road International Development Fund, Silk Road Trade Expo Park, Silk Road Think Tank Association, Silk Road International Artwork Trading Center, Silk Road International Commodity Exchanges and Silk Road International Association of Museums.

 

Resource integration and mechanism innovation are two key factors in our time of share economy. Today, SRCIC are in Lebanon and the Arab world to integrate the resources of 63 member countries with the finance, trade, tourism and culture of Lebanon and the Arab world to innovate cooperation mechanism, to jointly invest in big projects and good projects of energy, transport, tourism and trade with Federation of Arabia Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and Lebanon Association of Farming, Commerce and Industry. We will see Lebanon and the Arab region once again become the trade transfer hub, financing center and tourist choice,based in the Mediterranean Sea and reaching out to Asia, Africa and Europe and for the recovery of the world economy.

 

On March 16 this year, SRCIC signed the protocol with Osma Al-Ola Group and other corporations to invest RMB 10 billion in 7 projects in Saudi Arabia, including a Sino-Saudi Tech Industrial Park. At today’s Conference, SRCIC will sign the cooperation agreement with Federation of Arabia Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Lebanon Association of Farming, Commerce and Industry, and Fransabank. You all will witness the prelude of SRCIC’s cooperation in the Arab world. We have high expectations for the symphonic poem named “One Belt One Road.”

 

And on 8 September this year, SRCIC, ICC and EEU industrialists Committee will jointly hold 2017 Silk Road Business Summit in Xi’an, China. About 600 government officials, business leaders and scholars will attend to discuss topics on the Belt and Road construction, cooperation mechanism among chambers of commerce, eSilkRoad and global connectivity, Belt and Road with EEU, and Belt and Road cultural exchanges. Concurrent is the Silk Road Culture Week for art performance, exhibition and interacting activities. Here I sincerely invite Lebanon to the event as the Country of Honor, with your national leaders, with Chairman Kasaar, and with all of you present here today. We also invite Crossing the Silk Road troupe to be Guest of Honor for the art performance at the Summit. We believe your involvement will be the highlight of the cultural activities and the focus of the media.  

 

Ladies, Gentlemen, and friends,

China and Arab countries are good friends with mutual trust. We are good partners for mutual development. The great Lebanese poet Kahlil Gibran once wrote, “The universe is my country and the human family is my tribe”. In China, the famous poet in the Tang dynasty, Jiuling Zhang, also said, “Friendship can never be affected by distance”. The wisdom of these sages has pointed that cooperation should be our common pursuits, going beyond race and national boundaries.

 

Great mission requires great national devotion. The new Silk Road development chapter should be written by visional people from different countries. Let us make joint efforts, hand in hand, to advance on the Silk Road to realize our dreams and to accomplish our goals. 

 

I wish the Conference a success.

 

Thank you.