Bojan Lalic, PhD, Director of the Institute for belt and road, article for PGA’s Annual Bulletin
The Belt and Road Institute in Belgrade, was created as a result of the need to structurally and systematically utilize the opportunities of a major global initiative of the President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping and to transform it into benefit for all interested factors in modern society. The very concept of joining is always a good idea, especially if it is not based on pressure or conditioning.
The Belt and Road Initiative covers 146 countries and 32 international organizations, which makes it the largest and the most comprehensive initiative in the world today. More than 65 percent of the world's population, 40 percent of global GDP, 90 trillion dollars invested in member countries of the initiative in the first five years (2013-2018), 6.47 trillion dollars' worth of trade in countries of member states (2013-2018), etc., are just some of the indicators which demonstrate the colossal size and intensity of growth of this project. The Republic of Serbia ranks among the 28 founding countries of the initiative. The essence of the initiative is reflected in the effort to act in unison in order to realize a common vision of humanity.
Serbia occupies a particularly important place in the Mechanism 16 + 1, which represents the framework for cooperation between China and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (China-CEEC). Bordering with eight of the 16 countries, Serbia is in the natural centre of the Mechanism, and as a reliable and dedicated partner represents a shining example of harnessing potential cooperation that positively affects other countries to promote cooperation.
The Belt and Road Institute, Belgrade, is conceptually aimed at developing active support in the field of economy, in the academic and cultural scope of multilateral cooperation of the countries gathered around the initiative in question. In economic terms, the Institute provides business support to companies from countries covered by the initiative in strategic internationalization oriented to countries and markets of importance. Currently, the most important activities are focused on quality preparation and capacity building of companies from Serbia and the region of Central and Eastern Europe for business expansion in Asia, mostly China, but also directing Chinese companies to the Serbian and European markets. The so-called Landing Scheme represents a special product of the Belt and Road Institute and the Scheme is organized for the preparation and support of companies for maximum quality business establishment in Serbia while respecting all regulatory and other legal frameworks, while at the same time enabling fast and efficient integration into supply chains and values for the benefit of the Serbian economy.
In the academic field, the Institute has been working for many years on linking research institutions of the highest quality, universities and individuals along the New Silk Road, resulting in many short programs iMBA, eMBA, summer schools, winter academies, and other forms of structured education. When it comes down to culture, we believe the challenge of uniting a large number of nations, customs and differences enriches us when mutual understanding and connections are properly established. Cultural exchange and cooperation are of special value in building an environment for all other spheres of activity of the Institute.
The Port Governance Agency, as a business entity has an extremely significant impact on a resource that means a lot to the Republic of Serbia, it is a natural partner of the Belt and Road Institute and the strategic alliance which is beginning to take form represents the future framework for increasing the degree of implementation of all initiatives of both parties. Therefore, mobility in every sense, of goods, people, but also of knowledge and creativity, represents the basic challenge today, especially at a time when risks are difficult to predict and neutralize in detail. Logistics has become the science of all sciences, the profession of the future because it is no longer a problem to produce or find but to deliver the requested goods to the desired location. In this regard, and keeping in mind the welfare of Serbia in economic, environmental and promotional sense, the Agency and the Institute are focused on intense cooperation. The steel friendship of the Republic of Serbia and the People's Republic of China and the visionary connection of over 140 countries within the Belt and Road Initiative create opportunities that, with knowledge and dedicated work, can grow into a long-term strategic advantage for those who connect them with the natural resources they possess.
The future belongs to those who choose their partners well, adapt quickly to situations and changes and believe in the power of their own resources and friendship based on mutual respect for their integrity and respect in key national interests.