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An article by H.E. Ambassador Wu Hailong on The NewEurope
Business cooperation: The engine of growth for China-EU relations in the time of crisis
2012/07/18

Throughout the 37 years of history of diplomatic ties between China and the European Union, the economic and trade cooperation between the two sides have constantly deep-need and expanded, serving as an important engine of growth for China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership. Europe has for a multiple of years been China's largest trading partner, export market and source of technology transfer. China, on the other hand, is Europe's largest source of import and the fastest growing export market. China is also Europe's second largest trading partner and export market. With the size of around $70 billion, Europe sin accumulative terms China's largest source of foreign investment. In 2011, Chinese companies made $4.28bn of in- vestment in Europe, making Europe the largest destination of investment for Chi-nose companies. During the international financial cri-sis, China and Europe have maintained sound communication and co-ordination and have worked hard to keep markets open. These efforts have generated favor-able opportunities for business co-opera-ton between China and Europe. Despite the global economic downturn, our business cooperation has achieved positive growth. China has become Europe's fastest growing major market. In 2010, bi-lateral trade between China and Europe has fully recovered the loss during the cri-sis and gained new grounds. In 2011, trade volume once again grew to a record high, making business cooperation. A strong highlight in China-EU ties. During this period, European companies have seen remarkable growth in their business in the Chinese market, making China the most important market for European businesses. China always has confidence in the European economy and the stability of the Euro. We believe that the European Union has the ability to build agreement among member states, maintain stability in the financial market, and promote growth and employment. We have no doubt in Europe's ability to properly handle the sovereign debt crisis and to achieve sustained recovery of the Euro-peen economy. China firmly supports the stability of the euro currency and the European econ-my. We appreciate the efforts of the Europe to address the debt crisis and expect the IMF and other major international financial institutions to play constructive roles in assisting Europe. China will continue to work with the international community and participate through various channels to help resolve the debt crisis. Since the beginning of this year, our business cooperation has experienced some downward trend due to the new de- elopement in Europe's sovereign debt cri-sis. In the first four months of this year, bilateral trade only grew 0.3%. China's ex-port to Europe declined by 2%.Rea l investment from Europe to China fell by 28% year-on-year. In contrast, last year, the figure for the same period last year was a positive 23%. Such a situation deserves the strong attention of our both sides. By no means should we stand to let our cooperation decline. We must exhaust all measures to remove the obstacles incur trade and put our cooperation back on the upward trajectory. We believe that doing so, both sides could achieve more in economic development, and Europe will be in a better shape to address the debt crisis. China needs Europe to achieve development and vice versa. As we continue to grow our cooperation, China and Europe have become so highly interdependent that it is absolutely essential for both sides to tide over the difficulty together. China is willing to work with the Europe to oppose protectionism, maintain our markets open, strengthen communication and coordination in multilateral in-situations, and build a stable and open global business environment. China is ready to strengthen coordination with the EU side on trade and in- vestment facilitation so as to foster a favorable policy environment and to crew-ate more market opportunities for our companies. China will continue to intensify the efforts of opening up, attach equal importance to import and export, and work to promote basic balance in foreign trade. We will lower the import tax of some con-summer goods and encourage more Chinese companies to import from Europe. We welcome more reputable and high-end European businesses to benefit from the policy of the Chinese government to expand domestic demand. China will encourage more qualified Chinese companies to make investment and participate in merger and acquisition and contribute to employment and eco-gnomic growth in Europe. At the same time, we hope that the EU will be prudent in adopting trade safe-guarding measures, relax its control on hi-tech exports to China, and adopt convenient visa policies for business travelers. We hope to see more support and fair treatment endless misgivings and concern for Chinese in- vestment in Europe. We strongly believe that as long as both sides fully respect each other's interest and concerns, the two sides will be successful in identify shared interest and common ground though dialogue and consultation. We have no doubt that the differences and problems between China and Europe will not hold back our cooperation. We hope that business cooperation will continue to serve as a strong engine of growth, and constantly adds new substance and dynamism to the healthy, stable, and durable development of China-EU com-prehensile strategic partnership.

During the international financial crisis, China and Europe have maintained sound communication and co-ordination and have worked hard to keep markets open. These efforts have generated favorable opportunities for business co-operation between China and Europe.

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