China to prioritise railways over ports

Train hub in Shanghai, China. Credit: Getty Images

Part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is focused on increasing time-efficient rail transport to export goods to Europe as opposed to maritime transport

The Chinese government makes a big deal of its commitment to free trade, a distinct contrast to the US protectionist policies adopted by President Donald Trump. The divergences in the policies seem likely to continue to widen in the future.

China’s global free-trade policies and its willingness to underwrite the construction of Eurasian infrastructure is highly notable compared with the US, which is moving towards protectionist, isolationist policies.

Just three days after Trump was sworn into office in January 2016, he fulfilled one of his campaign promises: withdrawing the United States from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). This was a trade agreement, signed on 4 February 2016, linking Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US, and Vietnam.

This is an excerpt of the DPC January edition. To have access to the full article, and more DPC features, please subscribe here.