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Charge d'Affaires Wang Hongjian Delivers a Keynote Speech at the 5th Europe Forum

On 12 July 2019, the 5th Europe Forum, jointly organized by CEIBS and Bruegel, was held in Brussels. Themed “The 4th Industrial Revolution: Opportunities and Challenges for Europe and China”, the event brought together more than 100 representatives from the political, business and academic communities of China and Europe. Wang Hongjian, Charge d’Affaires ad interim of the Chinese Mission to the EU, delivered a keynote speech at the forum.

Wang Hongjian noted the need to persist in reform and innovation to lend more impetus to growth and foster an enabling market environment where innovation is respected, protected and encouraged, as well as the imperative to champion international collaboration on innovation, as Chinese President Xi Jinping said at the G20 Osaka Summit. China has been opening its doors wider in recent years, aiming to further improve the environment for foreign investors and facilitate international collaboration on innovation. China is keenly aware of the importance of IPR protection in encouraging innovation. It has adopted the Foreign Investment Law, introduced nearly 20 laws and regulations on IPR protection, and prohibits forced transfer of IPRs. Intellectual property royalty payments by Chinese companies to overseas proprietors have increased by a big margin. Going forward, the doors of China will be opened wider and wider, and the environment for investment and innovation cooperation would be better and better.

Wang Hongjian pointed out that China and the EU have seen a rapid and healthy growth of their relations and they are leading the world in innovation cooperation. Looking ahead, China and the EU are faced with shared challenges, so they are duty-bound to join forces with a mindset of reform and innovation. Science knows no national borders. Cross-border flows of technology are increasingly vibrant. Open innovation is a trend that shall not go back. Cooperation is only sustainable when it is mutually beneficial. China and the EU should continue to support cooperation with an open mind and take a clear stance for multilateralism and against unilateralism and protectionism. The innovation policies of the two sides should be better linked and the collaboration in basic research, frontier research and other areas relating to major social challenges should be deepened. China is working on the formulation of a national plan for scientific and technological development for the period between 2021 and 2035. That would partly overlap with the EU’s Horizon Europe in terms of timeframe. It is important for the two sides to seize the good opportunities and make a roadmap for cooperation in research and innovation.

Other speakers at the forum included Pascal Lamy, former Director-General of the WTO, Guntram B. Wolff, Director of Bruegel, as well as representatives of the EU. They share the view that China and the EU are important partners to each other and that science and innovation is a significant driving force behind China-EU relations. The two sides should seize the opportunities presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution and invest more in innovation to promote economic and social inclusion and sustainable development.

There were also full and in-depth discussions about the pathway, potential and prospects of China-EU innovation cooperation, in addition to other topics.

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