Investment in China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) declined last year, according to several measures, raising doubts about whether commercial enterprises are committed, according to the Financial Times. The BRI has become the centerpiece of Chinese economic diplomacy, but some hard data suggest the hype surrounding BRI may exceed the substance. Foreign direct investment from China to countries identified as part of the BRI fell 2% in 2016 year-on-year and has dropped an additional 18% so far in 2017, according to commerce ministry data. Non-financial FDI to 53 BRI countries totaled $14.5bn last year, comprising only 9% of overall outbound FDI. This decline occurred despite a 40% jump in outbound FDI in 2016, which raised overseas investment to a record high and prompted regulators to clamp down on foreign deals in a bid to curb capital outflow. Twenty-eight heads of state will gather in Beijing this weekend for a conference intended to further the plans.
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