Full disclosure I think the concept of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a master stroke. If you view it as the modern version of the Silk Road it takes on an epic, historically lasting feel to it. It is as if the Chinese created a new mental model for how trade is to be done. Honoring and leveraging the timeless paths of traders from centuries before but giving everything a massive infrastructure upgrade. The concept is much more intrinsically appealing than for example BRIC or other trade and cooperation associations that tend to be the flavor of the month. BRI feels like history in the making!
I majored in Economics in University and have continued to study it throughout my life. I remember the day (November 15, 1999) I was in Hong Kong and Vice Premier Zhu Rongji announced China’s entry into the WTO. I will never forget the significance of that event. I literally cancelled all my meetings that day and pondered the future impact. Soon thereafter, I made a decision to become more personally involved with China in the future. Obviously that played out! I now live in China and read, write and speak the language. If you live in China as I do you see the manifestation of that decision to enter the WTO every day, all around you. From WTO entry onwards, China became the world’s factory and in the process learned a lot about world trade. While the BRI is taking on a very low key press persona, its impact on China’s economy and world trade could be even more monumental than the WTO entry.