Turkey’s sovereign wealth fund has inked a US$5bn agreement with China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation (Sinosure) to promote bilateral trade and investment as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The deal will see Sinosure provide up to US$5bn of support for Turkey Wealth Fund’s (TWF) financing activities of BRI projects. The BRI is an economic programme launched in 2013 by Chinese President Xi Jinping that aims to connect Asia with Africa and Europe through land and maritime networks.

TWF was established in 2016 to develop and increase the value of Turkey’s assets by providing capital for ongoing and new investments.

The Chinese export credit agency will also recommend Chinese investors, contractors and financial institutions to the Turkish fund for projects focused in the energy, petrochemicals and mining sectors.

Wang Tingke, CEO of Sinosure, said in a statement that with the BRI and Turkey’s Middle Corridor Initiative – a plan that aims to link Beijing and London via Turkey – economic, trade and investment collaboration between China and Turkey will become “more and more” frequent.

TWF’s agreement with Sinosure follows other agreements between the countries. In January, the Export-Import Bank of China (China Exim) signed a three-year loan worth US$300mn to Garanti BBVA that will see financing provided to Turkish companies for Chinese imports.

The agreements follow a period in which Turkey had been cautious about its links with China. The country missed the second BRI summit last April, having attended the first. Turkish officials at the time said their absence was because the country had become increasingly aware of BRI-linked debt troubles in other states, as reported by local media. It also had a disagreement with Beijing over China’s treatment of the Uighurs, a Turkic Muslim minority in Xinjiang province, at the start of last year.

The BRI has been criticised for creating debt traps by offering loans to fiscally weak countries for infrastructure projects that they are unable to pay back.

Beijing has since dismissed accusations of BRI debt traps, citing Pakistan, a country that turned to the International Monetary Fund in July for a US$6bn bailout, as an example. “Debt incurred from CPEC [China-Pakistan Economic Corridor] stands at US$4.9bn, less than one-tenth of Pakistan’s total debt. I’m afraid the US is not bad at math, but rather misguided by evil calculations,” a post by a spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry reads on Twitter.