KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia � ASEAN is expected to benefit from the pick-up in activities along China’s Belt and Road (B&R) corridor, due to geographic proximity, historical relations with China, access to resources and emerging market status.

United Overseas Bank Bhd’s (UOB Malaysia) Economist Julia Goh said ASEAN countries also have a clear trading advantage with China, as more than half the country’s top 10 trading partners are from the region.

China, under the B&R initiative, has also a range of arrangements and agreements to help foster greater economic cooperation with ASEAN.

This includes the China-Indochina Peninsula Economic Corridor (one of the six economic corridors envisioned in the B&R initiative), the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area and the ASEAN and China Production Capacity Cooperation for the development of maritime, port development, connectivity, tourism, health and environmental sectors, she added in a statement today.

She said infrastructure-related development in sea/land/air transport, energy, water, information communications and pipeline would be the first areas to benefit from the initiative.

With better infrastructure and greater global connectivity, we expect to see a boost in demand for tourism-related services in industries such as food and beverage, hospitality, leisure and entertainment, shopping, education and healthcare.

The B&R initiative, in an increasingly fragmented global economy, will promote cooperation and common development.

It seeks to boost efficiency in the flow of production and integration of markets to achieve diversified, independent, balanced and sustainable development. As such, the initiative should bring about a greater level of economic activity among participating countries, Goh added.