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Ambassador Zhang Ming Gives a Keynote Speech at the Second China-EU Business Dialogue

On September 9, 2020, the Second China-EU Business Dialogue was organized by the China Chamber of Commerce to the EU via video link. Ambassador Zhang Ming, Head of the Chinese Mission to the EU, Mr. Dimitrios Papadimoulis, Vice President of the European Parliament, Mr. Romano Prodi, former President of the European Commission and former Italian Prime Minister attended the Dialogue and delivered keynote speeches.

Ambassador Zhang Ming pointed out that the COVID-19 has led to a major global recession, with rising unilateralism and protectionism, and unprecedented headwinds against globalization. Against this backdrop, China and Europe, as the world’s two major forces, two big markets, and two great civilizations, should act firmly on multilateralism, promote openness, safeguard economic globalization, and oppose any “decoupling” rhetoric and any attempt to destroy the stability of global supply and industrial chains, contributing to the fight against the pandemic and to the global economic recovery after the COVID-19. We have noticed that some Chinese companies in the EU complain about a seemingly less friendly business environment especially since the outbreak, bringing uncertainties to their operations in the EU. We hope that our EU partners will give due attention to these voices.

Ambassador Zhang said that since the outbreak, China and the EU have maintained close exchanges and steadily advanced their common agenda. Next week, President Xi Jinping will meet German and EU leaders via video link. The two sides have conducted high-level dialogues on trade, green, digital, security and strategic issues. It is hoped that the two sides will take this opportunity to strengthen all-round cooperation in various fields, conclude the investment agreement negotiation by the end of this year, kick-start the FTA process at an early date, in order to achieve more win-win results and bring openness and cooperation to a higher level. Yesterday, China put forward a Global Initiative on Data Security with eight key points. All stakeholders including the EU are welcome to join in the initiative, with a view to fostering an open, fair and non-discriminatory business environment, for everyone to benefit from digital economy.

Vice President Dimitrios Papadimoulis believed that China-EU cooperation is vital to the world. Only through cooperation can the two sides defeat the virus and achieve global economic recovery. On digital economy, China and Europe must gradually build trust, establish rules and regulations for global digital cooperation, build a fair and safe digital governance system, for win-win benefits.

Mr. Romano Prodi said that for China and the EU, the world’s two major economies, cooperation and dialogue is a must thing to do. China and Europe have different systems, but they can seek common ground while reserving differences, and work together to lead the world’s development. China and the EU can deepen dialogue and cooperation in such fields as climate change, environmental protection, China-Europe-Africa cooperation and the “Belt and Road” Initiative.

In the following panel discussion, about 150 representatives from various sectors in China and Europe conducted candid and in-depth exchanges on the opportunities and challenges in the digital transformation of Europe.

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