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Photo taken in December 2018 shows a sign of the China-Egypt Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone, located some 120 km to the east of Cairo near the Suez Canal, Egypt. [Photo/Xinhua]

China plans to advance economic and trade cooperation zones in economies involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, said Qian Keming, vice-minister of commerce.

The country will further the building of the zones in Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Latin America, Qian said on Thursday at the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.

He urged BRI economies to deepen their collaboration and align their interest for shared development and world prosperity.

Such cooperation zones along the Belt and Road have the potential to be much more than just engines of trade and economic growth, and they can promote environmental and social sustainability, according to a report released during the event.