Edited by Huiyao Wang and Lu Miao
Chapter 9: China’s Belt & Road Initiative: a counterforce to globalization reversal
Globalization is cyclical, with government policies swinging like a pendulum between openness to market forces and social protection. Its negative impacts on living standards and job opportunities in industrialized countries have generated strong political backlash in recent years, exemplified by the rise of the anti-free trade and anti-immigration movements in North America and Europe. This is partly because policy makers in developed countries have failed to address increasing public fears toward the open economy after a major crisis, relying on the old logic legitimized by previous practice, and failed to tackle new problems in new environments. Nevertheless, there is still a chance China’s Belt & Road Initiative could counter the globalization reversal. The China–Europe freight train service has a special function of promoting exports of European medium-size and small companies to the Chinese market, which will not only help to reduce the imbalance in China–Europe trade, but, more importantly, assuage anti-free trade movements in Europe. The China–Pakistan Economic Corridor will serve two important supplementary functions in addition to promoting economic growth in Pakistan: it will aid in undermining terrorist activities by reducing poverty, and it will also reduce the outflows of immigrants to other countries by increasing job opportunities in their home countries, thus alleviating anti-immigrant sentiment globally.
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