A recently signed agreement between China and Thailand sheds light on the dynamics of the Maritime Silk Road.
Amid all the fanfare and media buzz about China’s re-envisioning of its two Silk Road projects, the New Silk Road and the Maritime Silk Road, admittedly little is known about the details, the mechanics, and the functions of the new routes. For example, this interactive graphic published by Xinhua suggests the Maritime Silk Road’s prime focus is to facilitate trade between Asia and Europe when in actuality the focus of the Maritime Silk Road is to support and facilitate booming trade growth between Asia and Africa. To put this into perspective, from 2011 to 2013, trade between China and the EU showed no increase, keeping steady at around USD 530bn. This was outpaced by trade growth between China and Africa which expanded at an average of 10% per year over the same period of time and is projected to increase 15-20% per year over the next five years. In 2013 total trade between China and Africa reached USD 210bn – five years ago China’s total trade with Africa was less than half of what it is now. Continue reading