Leaders of the Group of Seven countries will undertake a U.S.-led infrastructure project for developing nations to rival China’s Belt and Road Initiative, that country’s multi-trillion series of projects around the world to foster trade and favor, the White House announced Saturday.
- The Build Back Better World (B3W) plan agreed to by leaders of the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Italy, Germany and France will “catalyze hundreds of billions of dollars of infrastructure investment for low- and -middle-income countries in the coming years,” the Biden administration said in a news release Saturday.
- The B3W plan, which does not have a dollar figure attached to it yet, will focus on climate change, gender equality, health and technology and will be financed by institutions including the U.S. Development Finance Corporation, USAID and the Export-Import Bank.
- The administration called it a “values-driven” project that is more transparent and treats developing countries as “true partners,” in a push to define Chinese projects as influence-building.
- The Biden administration is also pushing the G-7 countries to condemn China for its use of forced labor in the region of Xinjiang.
- G7 leaders’ disagreements over China have brought tension to the meeting, according to a CNN report: The US, Britain, Canada and France are advocating more confrontation with China while Germany, Italy and the European Union “sought to emphasize areas of cooperation,” according to an unnamed source in the Biden administration.
"This is not just about confronting or taking on China," said an unnamed Biden administration official, according to Reuters. "But until now we haven't offered a positive alternative that reflects our values, our standards and our way of doing business."
China’s Belt and Road Initiative, announced in 2013 by new president Xi Jinping as a Silk Road for the 21st Century, is a series of infrastructure projects across 139 countries and includes “roads, power plants, ports, railways, 5G networks, and fiber-optic cables around the world,” according to the Council on Foreign Relations.
The project also fits into the Biden administration’s goals for creating U.S. jobs: “complement domestic infrastructure investments in the American Jobs Plan and create new opportunities to demonstrate U.S. competitiveness abroad and create jobs at home.”