Shaun G. Morgan - Discusses the Potential for an Expanded Trade Route Between China and the Middle East
DUBAI, UAE / ACCESSWIRE / August 21, 2017 /Centuries ago, the Silk Road connected the East and the West, allowing China to trade with Europe and Africa until the Ottomans occupied Byzantine in the mid-15th century and disrupted the flow of goods. European merchants responded by seeking new routes to the Orient, which led to an explosion in maritime trade and launched an era of globalization. Fast forward to the present day and we find China the mastermind of a plan that aims to strengthen regional cooperation while also promoting global trade. The project, known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), is often described as a revival of the legendary ancient trade route and its cost is estimated at US$ 1 trillion. The highly ambitious plan, which was unveiled by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, envisions connecting more than 60 countries across Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and Africa through transport and energy networks. Veteran investment banking advisor Shaun G. Morgan, Managing Director of Emirates Consolidated Investments, believes that the BRI can accelerate trade between China and the Middle East, strengthening ties that go back to the original Silk Road.
In June 2014, President Xi described his country and the Middle East nations as "natural partners" in the BRI as he delivered the opening speech of the sixth China-Arab States Cooperation Forum. About a year later, the Chinese government published a report titled "Vision and Actions on Jointly Building Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road." If completed, the initiatives detailed in the paper will transform the Middle East into an important hub and deliver multiple economic benefits to the region. The plans envision connecting China with the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea via the Belt, while the Road will link China with Europe via the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean. In both cases, the Middle East will play a key role in the trade routes and will profit from it. For the Arab States, cooperation with China looks set to create tremendous opportunities for trade and investment. To begin with, Beijing aims to increase the bilateral trade volume from US$240 billion in 2013 to US$600 billion within the next decade. Over the same timeframe, China targets growth in its non-financial investments in the Arab markets from US$10 billion to more than US$60 billion. In addition, it plans to accelerate negotiations over the creation of a free trade area between China and the GCC.
The BRI is not without its critics and doubters, but the future implications for trade between China and the Middle East are already starting to take shape, according to Shaun G. Morgan. In March, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud visited Beijing and put his signature on 14 cooperation agreements between the two countries. The combined value of the 35 projects included in the pact stands at about US$65 billion. Within weeks, Brunei welcomed a deal for one of the largest foreign investments in its recent history: Chinese petrochemicals producer Zhejiang Hengyi and a Brunei partner agreed to build a US$3.5 billion integrated oil refinery and aromatic facility. In 2015, the oil-rich sultanate received a mere US$9.6 million in Chinese investments. The consolidated amount has now grown to an estimated US$6 billion and should keep increasing as the BRI picks up pace.
With two decades of experience in the investment banking industry, Shaun G. Morgan has been a key shareholder in several companies worldwide. In addition to his role as the Managing Director of Emirates Consolidated Investments, he also serves as CEO of SG Morgan Investment Bank and as Chairman of Greater China Acquisition Corp. Most recently, Morgan launched a new cryptocurrency network called Sinocoin, which is based in China and seeks to rival Bitcoin.
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SOURCE: Shaun G. Morgan
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