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Senior Chinese Official Promotes Integration of Africa’s New Free Trade Area With the Belt and Road Initiative

The idea of linking China’s Belt and Road Initiative with the new African Continental Free Trade Agreement appears to be gaining momentum among senior Chinese policymakers. Chang Hao, a high-ranking official with the influential National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) — a powerful body that effectively sets macroeconomic policy in China — spoke at a China-Africa think tank forum on Sunday about integrating the two multinational trade regimes.

Linking the BRI with the AfCTA is an idea that’s been bouncing around Chinese think tanks and state media for the past several months. However, Chang’s comments are among the first from a senior-level official who seemingly endorsed the concept.

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