As the global limelight fades from President Xi Jinping’s “Belt and Road” summit, the main actors – Chinese state-owned companies – are warning about the political risks they face along the route. The concerns highlight a major challenge of Xi’s signature trade and foreign policy initiative: Ensuring that state companies don’t become overexposed abroad at a time when they are struggling to shed costs and slash soaring debt loads at home, Bloomberg reports. State-owned companies had already insured more than $400 billion in projects in the four years before Xi’s summit. More than 71% of Chinese companies said political risk topped their concerns about investing abroad, according to a survey of 300 Chinese companies published in November by the Center for China and Globalization, a Beijing-based research institution. They cited “policy changes,” “political unrest” and “government expropriation” as top worries. The Belt and Road route includes volatile areas like Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as Yemen, Syria and Iraq.
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