One Belt, One Road: What’s in it for US Business
Fundraiser for China Business Studies Initiative Student Ambassador Program
On February 8th, 2017, the University of San Francisco’s China Business Studies Initiative hosted the second One Belt One Road Gala, featuring Honorable Chas W. Freeman Jr., the former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense, an author, and a scholar; Honorable Consul General Sergey V. Petrov of Russian Federation, and Honorable Deputy Consul General Faqiang Ren of the People's Republic of China.
USF President Paul Fitzgerald, as well as School of Management Dean, Elizabeth Davis, opened the conversation at this year's gala, welcoming students and attendees.
Chas Freeman started the discussion by talking about the potential business partnerships with China’s One Belt One Road Initiative, an ambitious foreign economic development and infrastructure project, which would create two extensive trade routes: one to extend along the ancient Silk Road, and the other to link China by sea to more than 60 countries in Asia, Europe, and Africa. In his keynote presentation, Freeman said, “at least 890 projects for new roads, 50,000 miles of high speed railways, perhaps pipeline supports, airports, and telecommunications links has boosted the efficiency of overland travel economic transactions across Eurasia.”
The growing number of projects provides an opportunity for US businesses to become part of the initiative before other Asian and the Europeans join the competition.
Two more representatives from the OBOR countries, Honorable Sergey Petrov and Honorable Faqiang Ren provided further analysis by addressing the views and the policies that will affect the US and Eurasia. They also provided suggestions for private sectors that will potentially participate in the One Belt One Road Initiative. Honorable Petrov pointed out that the Eurasian Economic Union, which began operating in 2015, “has established relationships with more than 40 countries in the world. Within, they will be showing the union's side on the free trade agreements. We [Russia] definitely have very good connections, very good exchanges, especially with Chinese friends, to discuss how we can align the union with One Belt One Road.”
Although this growing union is still young and developing, it is intended to bring back the advantages of economic cooperation that once existed in the Soviet Union. There is potential in joining forces with other nations to improve the One Belt One Road Initiative, as Honorable Ren mentioned his visit to Sri Lanka, during the construction of the #23 airport expressway.
“We saw some investment and equipment provided by Australia, and consultation by Japan. We're in an interdependent world,” he said. OBOR is not created just for China, but an opening for collaboration among other countries.
The Student Ambassador Program presented cultural performances and exhibitions of those countries along the One Belt One Road Initiative. Further conversations continued at the networking reception where the business executives, scholars, students, and speakers continued the OBOR discussion, connected with student ambassadors, and discussed the upcoming international conference. This gala would not have been made possible without our generous sponsors: Hebei Chamber of Commerce in California USA, Deloitte, Hong Kong Trade Development Office, Professor Marshall Meyer, UpHonest Capital, Youmyou, and Kingdom of Dumpling. The reception included wine generously donated by PARVINO, Proposal Napa Valley, and iWinery beverages.