24 July, Beijing, China – Bamboo can be a very strategic resource for the Belt and Road Initiative. It is a resilient, low-carbon material for infrastructure, which grows locally to many countries on the Belt and Road routes. What do countries need to understand about bamboo, and how to overcome the obstacles to its use? INBAR and the International Center for Bamboo and Rattan co-hosted a three-week seminar on these questions, which closed on 24 July.
As with previous training courses, the seminar was financed by China’s Ministry of Commerce.The seminar was attended by 42 participants from eight countries along the Belt and Road: Colombia, Ghana, Laos, Liberia, Malaysia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Uzbekistan. Participants hailed from governments, research institutes and the private sector. All but two countries are already members of INBAR – a point which shows the strategic role INBAR has a network for Belt and Road countries in the Global South.
In particular, the seminar looked at existing industry policies for forests and non-timber forest products, as well as the role of bamboo in poverty eradication, construction and trade. A number of the problems affecting the development of bamboo and rattan – including the lack of standards and secure HS codes for measuring trade in bamboo and rattan products – were discussed.
As part of the seminar, participants also visited Anji, Zhejiang Province and Huangshan, Anhui Province, where they had chance to visit factories and companies from China’s bamboo industry, and speak to local governments and research centres which are promoting the development of the bamboo industry. At the end of the seminar, many participants said that they were impressed by China’s bamboo industry and expressed an interest to cooperate with INBAR on further developing their own domestic industries.
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