xi's moments

EU-China relations embrace more opportunities than challenges

By Xie Jiayun | China Watch | Updated: 2018-12-06 18:45

The eighth session of the Europe-China Forum and Policy & Practice Roundtable was held in Brussels on Nov 27-28, by the Mission of the People's Republic of China to the European Union, Friends of Europe, the China Institute for Reform and Development, and China Daily as an active partner of this China-EU exchange platform.

Those who attended included Zhang Ming, ambassador the Mission of the People's Republic of China to the EU, Gunnar Wiegand, managing director for Asia Pacific at the European External Action Service (EEAS) Directorate for Asia and the Pacific, Chi Fulin, president of the China Institute for Reform and Development (CIRD), Jiang Ruiping, vice-president of China Foreign Affairs University, Zhao Jinping, former director-general of Research Department of Foreign Economic Relations of Development Research Center of the State Council, Chang Xiuze, professor at the National Development and Reform Commission's (NDRC) Academy of Macroeconomic Research and so forth. Shada Islam, director of Europe and Geopolitics at Friends of Europe moderated the forum.

Zhang Ming, ambassador of the People's Republic of China to the EU speaks at the welcoming speech. [Photo provided by Friends of Europe]
Gunnar Wiegand, managing director for Asia Pacific at the European External Action Service (EEAS) speaks at his welcoming speech. [Photo provided by Friends of Europe]
Chi Fulin, president of the China Institute for Reform and Development (CIRD) speaks at Policy & Practice Roundtable. [Photo Provided by Friends of Europe]
Shada Islam, director of Europe and Geopolitics at Friends of Europe speaks at Policy & Practice Roundtable. [Photo provided by Friends of Europe]

The discussion was focused on the reform of China's markets, joint efforts in clean energy and green technology; strategies to better connect Europe and Asia, as well as the EU's strategy for connecting the continents through better transport, energy, digital and people-to-people links.

"In the 40 years of China's reform and opening-up, China-EU relations have developed rapidly with a good momentum. Cooperation and mutual benefits have been the mainstream in our relations," said Zhang Ming, ambassador the Mission of the Republic of China to the European Union.

He said that since China's reform and opening-up, the bilateral economic and trade cooperation has increased by more than 250 times, which can be exemplified by the rapid rise in flights and trains as well as people travelling between China and EU.

"European capital and technology have also contributed a lot to China, and cooperation with China has contributed a lot to European growth. There are synergies between the Belt and Road Initiative and the EU connectivity strategy," Zhang added. "After a journey of over 40 years, China-EU relations have become more mature."

Talking about the uncertainties in both Chinese and European relations with the United States, Gunnar Wiegand, Managing Director for Asia Pacific at the European External Action Service (EEAS), said that the significance of the relationship with China has much increased.

"We compete in many fields – in high tech and over economic challenges – and we disagree over the ways societies are organized. But the capacity to find common ground is a sign of the maturity of the actors," Wiegand said.

"Both sides should further push forward cooperation in fields such as interconnection, investment, reform of WTO, climate change and recycling economy," he added.

"The strong commitment of Asians and Europeans to a rules-based international order with the UN at its center is an expression of both principles and interests," said Wiegand.

Jiang Ruiping, vice-president of China Foreign Affairs University speaks at at Policy & Practice Roundtable. [Photo provided by Friends of Europe]
Zhao Jinping, former director-general of Research Department of Foreign Economic Relations of Development Research Center of the State Council speaks at Policy & Practice Roundtable. [Photo provided by Friends of Europe]
Chang Xiuze, Professor at the National Development and Reform Commission's (NDRC) Academy of Macroeconomic Research speaks at Policy & Practice Roundtable. [Photo provided to China Watch]

Chi Fulin, president of the China Institute for Reform and Development (CIRD), also said that China and EU are the defenders of multilateralism.

"Against the backdrop of new changes in economic globalization and in view of China's new need for opening-up, China and EU should join hands to cope with new changes in economic globalization by persisting in free trade and multilateralism as the focus," Chi said.

He proposed China and EU should speed up their bilateral free trade process, conclude negotiations on BIT and start negotiations on China-EU free trade agreement as soon as possible.

"This year is 15th anniversary of the China-EU comprehensive and strategic partnership. In the context that economic globalization is facing severe challenges of trade protectionism and unilateralism, China's comprehensively deepening reform and opening-up will have significant impacts on China-EU cooperation," Chi added.

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