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Remarks by Mr. Zhang Lirong, Chargé d'Affaires of the Chinese Mission to the EU, on the European Parliament Conference
"Go China" as a European Strategy
2013/03/07

       

Your Excellency Ambassador Harazim,

Mr. Buzek,

Members of the European Parliament,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very delighted to have this wonderful opportunity of exchanging ideas with friends from different communities on business cooperation between China and Poland and Europe at large. On behalf of the Chinese Mission to the EU, I wish to convey our warm greetings and heartfelt appreciation to the host of this conference and all of you who have committed yourselves to China-EU and China-Poland relations.

When I first received the invitation to speak here, I was drawn to the name of the event: Go China! The way I see it is a remarkable expression of the importance EU member states attached to business cooperation with China and their great confidence in its prospect of growth. We are now in the tenth year of the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership, which thanks to steady and rapid growth has become extensive, all-directional, and multi-tiered. Business cooperation has become more sophisticated and now makes a key component and the powerhouse for our strategic partnership. Our trade has more than quadrupled to 546 billion US dollars last year from 125 billion a decade earlier. Last year, the EU invested over six billion dollars in China, and 3.4 billion flowed from China to Europe. The European Union remains China's largest trading partner, import market and source of technology transfer. China maintains Europe's second biggest trading partner and export market. These exceptional records couldn't have happened without the long standing efforts from both sides.

China attaches great importance to growing relations with the European Union. We also work extremely hard to make sure that our cooperation with EU member states are making solid progress. We approach our cooperation with the EU and the member states as a whole package and aim to create an environment where the two could complement and reinforce each other. If I compare the EU to a naval fleet with 27 ships, a healthy and enabling China-EU relations would be the tailwind above water, and China's cooperation with each member state would be the thrust of propellers below water. We believe that such combined forces could bring the fleet of 27 member states to more exciting places than would otherwise.

In fact, the cooperation between China and Poland presents an excellent case in point. Our two countries share important and long standing business cooperation, and our two peoples boast strong and time honored friendship. The Chinese-Polish Joint Stock Shipping Company, established in 1960s, is in fact the very first joint venture created in the history of the People's Republic of China. In 2011, China and Poland established strategic partnership. In 2012, two-way trade grew by 10.7% year-on-year to top the record of 14.4 billion dollars. Poland is the first country to go beyond with China that 10 billion mark in the central and eastern Europe, and has maintained for seven years in a row as China's largest trading partner in the region. Today, the burgeoning trade ties between China and Poland not only add substance to China-EU cooperation, but also bring stability to the overall China-EU economic cooperation and trade against the backdrop of the sovereign debt crisis.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The international financial crisis is not completely behind us yet, and the world economic recovery remains on a tortuous path. In the face of such complex environment, China, the EU, and EU member states must continue to expand and deepen business cooperation. It is the right choice for us to grow economy, create jobs, and promote global recovery. "Go China" is the right strategic call: closer strategic partnership between China and Europe both fulfills our shared aspiration and meets the demand of the international situation. A sound and stable China-EU relationship will provide a reliable political environment for our trade and economic cooperation. With 1.3 billion population, China boasts huge market potential in consumer demand. It is estimated that during the 12th Five-Year period, China will import more than 8 trillion dollars of goods. By 2015, the gross retail sales of consumer market will reach 5 trillion dollars. I strongly believe that the enormous and rapidly growing Chinese market and the strong complementarity of the Chinese and the European economy will open up more business opportunities for European investors.

While keeping our own market open, the Chinese government has also been actively encouraging Chinese companies to explore markets overseas. Europe is an important destination. "Go Europe", "Go Poland" has been a natural choice for many Chinese companies. We strongly hope that the European Union as a whole will take effective measures to foster an accepting environment for these companies so as to uphold the enthusiasm for investment and cooperation.

China always firmly supports European integration. A united, stable, and prosperous Europe serves the interest of China and that of the world. The Chinese side is willing to conduct mutually beneficial cooperation with Poland and other EU member states to fully untap our development strengths, expand areas of cooperation, and uplift the level of cooperation. Going forward, I sincerely hope that this "Go China" strategy will yield effective results and spearhead more EU member states to encourage business cooperation and mutual investment with China. And hopefully, in this pursuit of win-win and common development, "Go China" will become a common strategy for the whole union.

Thank you!

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