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China's Xi appeals to foreign leaders for freer trade

FAO has been the first worldwide organization to develop a specific framework to reinforce policy coordination in the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative with relation to the agriculture sector.

While countries such as India, which has publicly criticised parts of Beijing's infrastructure plan, and Australia, which has quietly resisted setting up any formal links at this stage, may have valid strategic concerns, the world needs more infrastructure. If you look at history, tell me when has China been a colonial power?

As a two-day summit on the project in Beijing wound up, the 30 nations also agreed to promote a rules-based, non-discriminatory trading system with the World Trade Organization at its core and to oppose protectionism, according to a joint communique signed by their leaders. The two-day summit, which wound up on Monday, was created to showcase President Xi Jinping's signature foreign policy. Some of the projects could be in development for years.

Australian Trade Minister Steven Ciobo said Canberra was receptive to exploring commercial opportunities China's new Silk Road presented, but any decisions would remain incumbent on national interest. "And think of improved roads in rural areas that can boost productivity, school enrolment and access to health services", she said.

Xi announced more than $100 billion in infrastructure financing for the project - some through a Silk Road Fund, some through Chinese government policy banks like the China Import-Export Bank and China Development Bank.

Union Minister for Food Processing Harsimrat Kaur Badal today said that the Narendra Modi government has taken many steps to double the income of the farmers of the country.

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The ambitious, multi-billion dollar infrastructure plans that would establish a trade route through Kashmir, Eastern Europe and the continental mainland, but it did not meet the EU's environmental standards.

There is a degree of uncertainty surrounding OBOR which begets a degree of wariness, even among China's partners. The diplomatic event, touted as the biggest-ever initiated by China, gathered 1,500 participants from more than 130 countries. And as Quartz pointed out in an article last week, nine of those were from outside the OBOR family.

Xi urged worldwide organisations, including the EU and the African Union, to sign up to his "Belt and Road" agenda, according to Chinese state news agency Xinhua.

The US and Japan made last-minute decisions to send delegations and Australia was represented by Trade Minister Steve Ciobo and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews. "We see it as a path for overcoming terrorism and extremism".

He called for expanding consensus for One Belt One Road, enhancing cooperation in development and implementation and prepare a blueprint and roadmap for long-term cooperation.

"As such, given the active responses from countries along the route, there is no way for India to impede its neighbouring countries from cooperating with China in infrastructure development". It cautioned in a statement ahead of the summit that projects "must be pursued in a manner that respects sovereignty and territorial integrity". Indians are keen to compare themselves with China on development and global status, but meanwhile strongly object to China developing friendly cooperation with Pakistan, for fear that Sino-Pakistani ties are targeting India, it added.

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