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Published On: Mon, Jul 3rd, 2017

New Silk Route: Train with Volvo cars made in China arrived in Belgium

nsnbc : The Belgian port city of Zeebrugge has seen the arrival of a cargo train, carrying Volvo cars manufactured in China. The arrival of the train marked the opening of the new, direct, Silk Route link between northeast China and Zeebrugge.

Zeebrugge_Belgium_Jul 2017_Silk RoadThe link is aimed to have three to five trains from China arrive in the Belgian city each week. with Zeebrugge will be functioning as the western European hub for the New Silk Route link that is part of China’s Road and Belt initiative.

From Zeebrugge, the goods, primarily goods made in China, often for western corporations, will be shipped to other western European countries. The first train had started off in Heilongjiang about three weeks ago, passing various countries such as Russia, Belorussia, Poland and Germany along the way and arriving in Zeebrugge on Friday.

The train carried containers loaded with cars of the larger Volvo S90 model. The cars are made for Volvo in the plant in Daqing. The first train carried 176 cars. On a yearly basis, there are talks of between 30,000 and 40,000 cars. On its return trip the train will be carrying smaller Volvo models made in a plant in Ghent and/or other goods.

Belgian Economy Minister Kris Peters claimed “there’s no problem for the Ghent-based Volvo plant in terms of competition”. Peeters added “This was a concern for us, but we made a very clear accord with the Chinese. … The train will not bring cars which are also being manufactured in Ghent.”

New Silk Road_China_Globalization_nsnbc_Lehmann_2017A point Peeters, according to some critics willingly missed, is that the Silky Soft-power Road may very well inspire “Volvo” and its shareholders to move the production of more Volvo models to China.

The Silk Road and China ‘s allegedly entirely unpolitical win-win business has already led to highly politically charged decisions.

One example for China’s alleged “soft” power could be observed in the Baltic countries. After Lithuania and Estonia welcomed the Dalai Lama in 2011, China offered its Baltic investment to a more “politically correct” Latvia.

In a phone conversation on Sunday, nsnbc editor-in-chief Christof Lehmann, stressed the need to cover the Chinese Silk Road and Road and Belt initiative objectively.

He added that “Media coverage with an exaggerated anti-Chinese or anti-Eurasian bias would be as irresponsible as the ´My globalization is better than yours because it has a Made in China win-win label` propaganda that is seen in many Chinese and Russian media”.

F/AK – nsnbc 03.07.2017

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