The digital economy is a driver for global economic growth that becomes more important every day, and is playing an ever more important role in accelerating economic development, enhancing labour productivity in existing industries, fostering new markets and new industrial growth points, realizing inclusive growth and sustainable growth. In order to expand cooperation in the digital economy area, as countries supporting the “One Belt, One Road” initiative, we will, on the basis of the principles of interconnection and interaction, innovation and development, openness and cooperation, harmony and inclusivity, mutual benefit and win-win, explore the common use of digital opportunities and response to challenge, strive to realize an interconnected and interactive “Digital Silk Road” through strengthening policy communication, infrastructure linkages, trade facilitation, financial flows and interlinking popular sentiment, and forge a mutually beneficial, win-win “community of interests” and a “community of destiny” for common development and flourishing. To this end, on the basis of voluntarity and non-restraint, we put forward the following proposal:
1. Expanding broadband access, raising broadband quality. Build and perfect regional telecommunications, Internet, satellite navigation and other such important information infrastructure, stimulate interconnection and interaction, explore the expansion of high-speed Internet access and connectivity measures at a bearable price, stimulate broadband network coverage, improve service capabilities and quality.
2. Stimulating the digital transformation. Stimulate the digitization of agricultural production, operations and management, as well as the networked transformation of agricultural product distribution. Encourage digital technologies to converge with the manufacturing sector, build an ever more linked, networked and smart manufacturing sector. Use information and telecommunications technology to improve cultural education, healthcare and medicine, environmental protection, urban planning and other public services. Stimulate the sustained development of service sectors such as smart logistics, online tourism, mobile payment, digital creativity and the shared economy.
3. Stimulate e-commerce cooperation. Explore the feasibility of establishing information sharing, mutual trust and mutual recognition mechanisms for cross-border e-commerce credit, customs passage, inspection, quarantine, consumer protection and other such areas, strengthen cooperation in areas such as financial payment, storage and logistics, technology services, offline exhibitions, etc. Strengthen cooperation in consumer rights protection.
4. Support Internet start-ups and innovation. Encourage the promotion of Internet-based research, development and innovation through beneficial and transparent legal frameworks, and support Internet-based start-ups. Use the Internet to stimulate innovation in products, services, processes, organizational and commercial models.
5. Stimulate the development of small, mid-size and micro enterprises. Stimulate small, mid-size and micro enterprises to use information and telecommunication technologies to conduct innovation, raise competitiveness and open up new market sales channels through policy support. Promote the provision of required digital infrastructure to small, mid-size and micro enterprises at bearable prices. Encourage small, mid-size and micro enterprises to provide information and telecommunication products and services to public departments, and enter into global value chains.
6. Strengthen digitized skills training. Increase the public’s digitized skills levels, ensure that they obtain gains from the development of the digital economy. Launch on-the-job training for digital skills, enhance employees’ digital skills. Encourage government departments, universities, research bodies and enterprises to vigorously launch training programmes, and stimulate the popularization and improvement of digital skills.
7. Stimulating investment in the information and telecommunications technology area. Improve the commercial environment through stimulating research, development and innovation as well as investment, including cross-border investment in the digital economy. Promote all kinds of financial bodies, multilateral development bodies, etc., to invest in information and telecommunications technology infrastructure and applications, guide commercial share investment funds as well as social funds to invest in the area of the digital economy, encourage public-private partnership relations and other such forms of participation. Encourage the organization of investment information exchange activities between information and telecommunications technology enterprises and financial bodies, encourage reciprocal investment in the information and telecommunications technology area.
8. Promoting inter-city digital economy cooperation. Stimulate relevant cities to launch twinning cooperation, support the establishment of strategic cooperation relationships between twinned cities, drive international traffic and logistics, enhance quality and increase efficiency through constructing information infrastructure, promoting information sharing, stimulating information technology cooperation, and stimulating Internet trading services. Explore the establishment of “Digital Silk Road” economic cooperation demonstration areas. Encourage and support relevant cities in establishing “Digital Silk Road” economic demonstration areas within these cities, promote profound bilateral cooperation in areas such as information infrastructure, smart cities, e-commerce, long-distance healthcare, “Internet Plus”, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, etc.
9. Increasing digital inclusivity. Adopt many kinds of policy measures and technological measures to reduce the digital divide, including the digital divide between countries and within countries, and forcefully stimulate the proliferation of the Internet. Stimulate the use of digital technologies in school education and non-official education, promote the realization of broadband access for schools and equip them with online learning environments, so that ever more students can use digitized tools and resources in pursuit of learning. Strengthen the development of digital content such as excellent online games, cartoons, audiovisual materials, literature, music and knowledge resources, and stimulate exchange between the cultures of all countries, and a meeting of people’s hearts.
10. Encouraging and fostering transparent digital economy policies. Develop and maintain an open, transparent and inclusive digital economy policy formulation method. Encourage the dissemination of related and publishable government data, and understand the potential of these in driving new technologies, new products and new services. Encourage online open tendering and procurement, support enterprises in innovating digital product production and services, and simultaneously ensure that demand is market-led.
11. Furthering international standardization cooperation. Propose the formulation and application of international standards for technology products and services developed through joint coordination, these international standards should maintain consistency with international norms including the norms and principles of the World Trade Organization.
12. Strengthening confidence and trust. Strengthen the feasibility, completeness, secrecy and reliability of online transactions. Encourage the development of secure information infrastructure, in order to stimulate trustworthy, stable and reliable Internet applications. Strengthen international cooperation in the area of online trading, jointly attack cybercrime and protect the information and telecommunications technology environment. Through ensuring and respecting privacy and protecting personal data, establish confidence among users, this is a critical factor influencing the development of the digital economy.
13. Encourage and stimulate cooperation while respecting autonomous development paths. Encourage all countries along the Belt and Road to strengthen exchange and enhance mutual understanding, strengthen cooperation in policy formulation, supervision and management, reduce, eliminate or prevent unnecessary differences in supervision and management requirement, in order to liberate the vitality of the digital economy, simultaneously understand that all countries should preserve consistency with their international legal obligations, and that they will plan their development path no the basis of their own development situation, historical and cultural traditions, national legal systems and national development strategies.
14. Encouraging the joint construction of a peaceful, secure, open, cooperative and ordered cyberspace. Support information and telecommunication technology policies that safeguard the global nature of the Internet, permit Internet users to lawfully and autonomously choose the information, knowledge and services they obtain online. Understand that cybersovereignty must be fully respected, safeguard cybersecurity, determinedly attack cyberterrorism and cybercrime, protect personal privacy and information security, and promote the establishment of a multilateral, democratic and transparent international Internet governance system.
15. Encouraging the establishment of multi-level exchange mechanisms. Stimulate all sides, governments, enterprises, scientific research bodies, and sectoral organizations to communicate and interact, share viewpoints, and promote cooperation in the digital economy. Strengthen training, research and cooperation in the area of the digital economy. Strengthen exchanges about policy formulation and legislative experiences among the “Belt-Road Initiative” countries, and share best practices. Launch the construction of digital technology capabilities, welcome and encourage the United Nations Trade and Development Committee, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the International Telecommunications Union and other such international organizations to play an important role in driving international cooperation on the “Belt-Road Initiative” digital economy.
(Signed by China, Laos, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Thailand, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates)