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A Rewind of China-EU Relations in 2010 by H.E. Ambassador Song Zhe
2010/12/23

Stability, Growth and Prospect

 I. As we celebrate the 35th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and EU this year, new progress has been made along the path of steady growth in our bilateral ties. Such progress can be observed in the following aspects:

 First, frequent high level visits consolidated the political basis of our relations. This year has registered high-level mutual visits between China and many EU member states. The 13th China-EU Summit was held in Brussels. Chinese State Councilor Ma Kai has recently concluded his visit to the EU headquarters. The new leadership of the EU including President Barroso and President Buzek paid visits to China. High Representative Asht! on co-chaired in China with Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo the first China-EU High Level Strategic Dialogue. This month, several EU Commissioners will be visiting China for the Third High Level Economic and Trade Dialogue. These frequent high level exchanges are very good ways to deepen mutual understanding, increase trust, and inject new vigor to the growth of our bilateral ties.

 Second, growth in trade and invest recovered our business cooperation. Our bilateral trade has gradually shaken off the adverse influence of the international financial crisis and exceeded the pre-crisis level. In the first 11 months this year, our bilateral trade grew by 33.1% year-on-year to 433.88 billion US Dollars, 10.4% higher than the same period of 2008. It is estimated that by the year-end, this number will top 470 billion US Dollars. Europe remains China’s largest trading partner and export market. And China is the second largest and the fastest growing export market ! among EU’s top five export destinations. By the end of October, the EU has in total invested 5.5 billion US dollars in China this year, 10.5% higher than the previous year. More European companies are shifting their investment from manufacturing business to service sector. There are more mergers, acquisitions and risk investments. For China, in the first three quarters, Chinese direct investment to Europe grew by 5.2 folds. These investments have brought hope to a lot of European enterprises trapped in difficulty. China has become a “money tree” for European enterprises. Many European economists and media agree that China’s soaring demand for mechanical equipment and luxury goods has become an important driving force for economic recovery of many European countries.

 Third, practical cooperation continue to grow with particular highlight in people-to-people exchange. Positive results have been made in our cooperation in education, culture, science and techn! ology. We have set up the China-EU Climate Change Ministerial Dialogue and Cooperation Mechanism, and jointly established the Clean Energy Center. On the front of people-to-people exchange, a wide range of activities and programs further strengthened mutual understanding and friendship between our two peoples. We have signed a joint action plan for the China-EU Year of Youth Exchange, launched the Youth Policy Dialogue, and held the first Youth Summit and the first High Level Cultural Forum. For the first time, EU participated in the World Expo outside an EU member state, and staged in Shanghai a gala celebrating the European Day.

 Fourth, closer consultation and coordination deepened our cooperation on international affairs. China and EU have maintained close consultations on global issues such as the reform of international financial system and climate change under the United Nations, G20 and other multilateral frameworks. The smooth operation of our politica! l consultation mechanisms at all levels also ensures our effective exchange and coordination on international and regional hotspot issues.

 II. In the world today, profound changes are taking place in international relations. The financial crisis is yet to be over and the proliferation of sovereign debt crisis remains a daunting threat to Europe. The development we have achieved against such a backdrop did not come by easily. As we move into the key development stage, we should continue to work together to preserve the vigor and strength of our relations.

 Today, EU is earnestly implementing the Lisbon Treaty and working strenuously to meet the challenges of the sovereign debt crisis and EU integration In this transitional period, fresh characteristics can be also found in China-EU relations as well. Nevertheless, despite of all changes in the international situation, in Europe and in China-EU relations, the importance China attaches to the EU a! nd our determination and confidence to grow China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership will not change.

 Europe is a major power in the international community. Europe plays an important role in upholding world peace, promoting common development, tackling global challenges, and resolving regional and hotspot issues. Europe is a strong force in building a fair and just international political and economic order.

 EU integration is the most viable choice for European countries to develop strength through unity. For decades, the European Union has demonstrated admirable determination and resolve in overcoming all difficulties and hardships and in establishing from scratch an otherwise highly integrated union today. We firmly believe that EU integration will continue to enjoy a promising prospect in the future.

 Europe is the world’s most important economy. As the world’s largest bloc of developed countries, EU is a leading play! er in foreign trade, innovation, brand marketing, and economy of scale. We have full confidence that the Euro will emerge from the current crisis and contribute to the stability and diversity of the international monetary regime.

 Europe enjoys strong influence in international public opinion and agenda-setting. Europe is the birthplace of western civilization and modern philosophy and a supporter and practitioner of multilateralism, global governance, and peaceful resolution of international disputes. We believe that with the active minds in Europe and its strength in media, Europe will contribute more greatly to the prosperous development of a diverse world.

 China will continue to work with the EU side to bring more substance to our comprehensive strategic partnership. We will take active measures to ensure that our relations will grow along the path of being comprehensive, inclusive, highly motivated, and mutually beneficial.

! ; III. 2011 will open a new chapter of the second decade in the 21st century There will more be opportunities for us to expand and deepen our cooperation. As we go from a fresh and higher starting point to grow our relations, the strategic significance of our ties will be further strengthened. I have full confidence in and high expectation for our future cooperation. Next year, we should focus our efforts to make progress in the following areas:

 First, strategic agreement. We should continue to deepen political mutual trust, respect each other’s development path, accommodate each other’s concern, and make sure that China-EU relations will forge ahead along the path of comprehensive strategic partnership. Our relations have gone beyond bilateral context. Therefore, in the post crisis era, stronger strategic cooperation between China and Europe on international issues and our closer participation in the rule making and institutional building will help promote ! a new world order featuring multilateralism.

 Second, interdependence. Next year, China will begin to implement our 12th Five-Year Plan and EU will follow through the EU 2020 Strategy. Our similarities and best practices in social and economic development could offer us enormous opportunities to deepen cooperation. Information technology, low-carbon economy, environment protection, energy conservation, and SMEs are all areas with huge potential for cooperation. Cooperation in these areas will boost our bilateral trade and further increase our interdependence

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