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Baghdad thinks of linking China’s Belt and Road with Iraq’s Development Road

Baghdad ( – The Iraqi Prime Minister, Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani, confirmed on Sunday that it is possible to link China’s Belt and Road with Iraq’s strategic project of the Development Road.

Al-Sudani’s statement took place during his meeting with Dai Houliang, the chairman of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), which is the government-owned parent company of PetroChina.

The meeting addressed Iraq’s interest in developing gas projects, fertilizer industries, and energy projects, in addition to the construction of a power plant and a petrochemical factory, according to a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

The Belt and Road Initiative, also known as the New Silk Road, is a worldwide infrastructure development project launched by the Chinese government in 2013 with investments in more than 150 countries.

According to the World Bank, the Belt and Road Initiative has the potential to increase trade flows in 155 participating countries by 4.1 percent while also lowering global trade costs by 1.1 to 2.2 percent and increasing the GDP of East Asian and Pacific developing countries by an average of 2.6 to 3.9 percent.

The Chinese initiative aims to build an integrated large market that fully utilizes both international and domestic markets through cultural exchange and integration to improve member countries’ mutual understanding and trust.

The New Silk Road bridges an infrastructural gap and has the potential to boost economic growth across Asia, the Pacific, Africa, and Central and Eastern Europe.

Iraq’s $17 billion Development Road project will connect the Al-Faw Grand Port in southern Iraq to the border with Turkey by extending a railway and road network.

Many Arab, regional, and European countries have expressed their willingness to participate in Iraq’s Development Road project, either by pumping in investments or taking part in the construction works, as it constitutes an important link between Asia and Europe.

The project is expected to turn the country into a transit center by shortening the travel time between Asia and Europe in an attempt to compete with Egypt’s Suez Canal.

Al-Sudani illustrated earlier that the project includes a railway to transport goods, with a capacity of 3.5 million tons in its first phase that will be increased to 7.5 million tons in the second phase.

The Iraqi Prime Minister mentioned that the project will also include a highway for land transport and pipelines to transport energy, in addition to the Al-Faw Grand Port and the industrial city expected to be one of the largest in the Middle East.

As a global corridor to transport goods and energy, the project will generate many job opportunities for Iraq and the countries of the region, as well as opportunities for industries and businessmen, and it will be a center attracting global trade.

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