But the Crusades and the progress made by the Mongols in Central Asia have hampered trade, and today the countries of Central Asia are economically isolated from one another, with intraregional trade distributing only 6.2% of total cross-border trade. They are also highly dependent on Russia, especially for remittances – they account for a third of the gross domestic product (GDP) of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Until 2018, due to Russia`s economic problems, transfers had fallen from their 2013 highs. One of the Chinese bridgeheads in Europe is the port of Piraeus. In total, Chinese companies are expected to invest a total of €350 million in port facilities by 2026 and an additional €200 million in related projects such as hotels.  In Europe, China wants to continue investing in Portugal with its deep-water port in Sines, but especially in Italy and in the Adriatic logistics center around Trieste. Venice, the historically important European arrival point of the Maritime Silk Road, is now less and less commercially important due to the shallow depth or mud of its port.  Vietnam was historically contrary to China, so it was undecided to support or reject BRI.  In summary, a more effective U.S. response to the BRI would be more reasonable to adopt new, comprehensive trade agreements that would improve the investment climate in developing countries and link them more closely to the United States; reform the multilateral banks and their new financial institutions, which would streamline bureaucracy in the area of infrastructure projects and offer an attractive alternative; stop anti-China rhetoric; and encourage China to be more transparent and to grant more generous terms and, if necessary, to participate in debt cancellation. With China imposing trade restrictions that threaten Australian exports by up to $20 billion, state opposition has questioned the benefits of the deal, but Andrews said he would not have struck the deal if he didn`t believe it was in Victoria`s best interest. But when asked if he was rethinking the Belt and Road deal, given its posting on Twitter and the aggressive escalation of Chinese rhetoric since then, the prime minister had a one-word answer: « No. » According to a study by the University of Antwerp, the seaway via Trieste drastically reduces transport costs. The example of Munich shows that transport from Shanghai to Trieste takes 33 days, while the northern route takes 43 days.
From Hong Kong, the southern line reduces transport to Munich from 37 to 28 days. Reducing transport implies, on the one hand, better use of scheduled vessels for shipping companies and, on the other hand, considerable environmental benefits, in particular as regards the reduction of CO2 emissions, as maritime transport weighs heavily on the climate. Therefore, in the Mediterranean region, where the blue banana economic zone meets functioning rail links and deep-water ports, there are important areas of growth. Henning Vöpel, director of the World Economic Institute in Hamburg, acknowledges that the North Range (i.e. transport to Europe through North Sea ports) is not necessarily the one that will dominate in the medium term.  Tim Pallas, Victoria`s treasurer, said this month in a parliamentary inquiry that the state would « absolutely not » reconsider its Belt and Road deal, accusing the federal government of « denigrating » China because of its insistence on conducting an international investigation into the Covid-19 pandemic. The « Maritime Silk Road of the 21st Century » (Chinese: 21世纪海上丝绸之路) or simply the Maritime Silk Road is the « corridor » of the Seaway.  It is a complementary initiative to invest and promote cooperation in Southeast Asia, Oceania and Africa through several related waters: the South China Sea, the South Pacific and the entire Indian Ocean.    It was first proposed in October 2013 by Xi Jinping in a speech to the Indonesian parliament.  As with the Seidenstraßen-Wirtschaftsgürtel initiative, most member countries have joined the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. .