China and the five Central Asian countries — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan — share a broad space for industrial and investment cooperation, which will inject strong impetus into high-quality development in the region, officials and experts said on Friday.
Given the gloomy global outlook and international geopolitical tensions, as well as mounting uncertainties both at home and abroad, they said promoting industrial and investment cooperation marks a key move to keep up with the general trend around the globe, promote economic transformation and pursue win-win development.
More efforts should be made to ensure safe and smooth industrial and supply chains and create a trade and investment environment that is stable, safe and free, they added.
Huo Fupeng, deputy director of the Department of Industry at the National Development and Reform Commission, the country's top economic regulator, said the five Central Asian countries play a key role in the regional industrial and supply chains, and China has become the largest contributor to global economic growth.
Looking ahead, Huo said China and the five Central Asian countries should make a big push to speed up industrial upgrading and transformation, create a better business environment and maintain stable and safe regional industrial and supply chains.
More efforts should also be made to develop next-generation information technologies, such as artificial intelligence, industrial internet, big data and the internet of things, accelerate the smart and green transformation of traditional industries, expand cooperation in the areas of trade, investment, cross-border e-commerce and transportation, he added.
Huo made the remarks at an industrial internet sub-forum on Friday during the China + Central Asia Industry and Investment Cooperation Forum.
During the past few years, China and the five Central Asian countries have been deepening pragmatic cooperation in fields such as industry, investment and trade, according to Huo.
China's trade value with the five countries surged by around 40 percent to $70.2 billion in 2022, and the outbound direct investment from China to the five countries reached $970 million, effectively increasing the resilience of regional industrial and supply chains and promoting regional economic development, NDRC data showed.
Citing official data, Vladimir Norov, former secretary-general of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, said China's industrial internet sector is entering a new phase of rapid development and over 73 million industrial equipment items have been connected to China's industrial internet platforms.
In a speech to the sub-forum via video link, Norov highlighted the importance of developing the IoT and the industrial internet, saying that will significantly boost economic growth.
Norov's views were echoed by Du Zhenli, director of the Overseas Economic Cooperation Department at China International Engineering Consulting Corp, who said China and the Central Asian countries have built an efficient mechanism for digital industry and infrastructure cooperation, and China and those countries have been actively participating in information infrastructure projects for boosting connectivity.
Looking to the future, Du said the China-SCO Local Economic and Trade Cooperation Demonstration Area will become a key bridge for China and Central Asia to build a digital Silk Road, especially in cooperation in the industrial internet, smart manufacturing and digital economy.