Focusing on Digital Economy and Intensifying EU-China Pragmatic Cooperation
On November 11, the 15th EU-China Business & Technology Cooperation Fair (EU-China 2020) kicked off at the Business & Innovation Centre for China-Europe Cooperation in Chengdu Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone (CDHT). EU-China 2020 is hosted by China Chamber of International Commerce and the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, organized by China Council for the Promotion of International Trade Chengdu Sub-Council (CCPIT Chengdu), the CDHT Administrative Committee, and Chengdu Chamber of International Commerce, and implemented by IDG World Expo China. Under the theme of “Opening Up a New Phase of EU-China Digital Trade, Creating a New Pattern of EU-China Synergy Innovation”, several events are held during the two-day fair, including the Opening Ceremony, Summit Forum on Opportunities and Challenges in EU-China Digital Trade, Forum on EU-China Investment Facilitation, EU-China Forum on 5G Technology and Smart City Development, the 3rd Roundtable on Sino-European Cooperation for Convention and Exhibition Industry, the 2nd Exchange Event on Sino-European Cooperation for Vocational Education, and Project Matchmaking Sessions for European and Chinese Companies.
Due the COVID-19 pandemic this year, EU-China 2020 takes the innovative form of “livestreaming + offline meeting” for the first time. The offline meetings gather over 100 Chinese and foreign guests and over 200 companies and institutions such as Siemens China and H3C. It also attracts over 100 European companies as online participants and nearly one million online viewers.
Since the launch in its permanent host city Chengdu in 2006, EU-China was successfully held for 14 editions, with a total of over 4,000 participating European companies and 7,600 participating Chinese companies, 29,000 company matchmaking discussions arranged, and 3,100 agreements of intent for cooperation concluded. It has evolved into one of the largest EU-China exchange events for cooperation in investment, trade, and technological innovation involving the largest number of EU member states and European companies, and has become an icon for Chengdu’s opening up to and cooperation with Europe. It is playing an increasingly important role in boosting companies in Western China to go global and promoting economic and technological exchanges and cooperation between countries and regions.
Chinese and European Guests Gathering to Discuss New Opportunities for EU-China Cooperation in Digital Trade
2020 marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the EU and China. The two sides have long had broad consensus on actively supporting globalization and multilateralism and maintaining an open world economy. Against the backdrop of the comprehensive strategic partnership between the EU and China being increasingly deepened, Chinese and European guests present their views and share their experience at EU-China 2020, where they explore for new opportunities for EU-China cooperation in digital trade against drastic changes.
“2020 is a year of significance for ‘the Chinese and the EU market remaining open to each other, speeding up the negotiations of the China-EU Bilateral Investment Treaty, strengthening China-EU cooperation in the green and digital fields, and forging China-EU green partnerships.’ EU-China 2020 places the focus of the EU-China cooperation in synergy innovation on digital economy and digital trade, which not only follows the trends of the world but also manifests the common progress with the coordination of the strengths of all sides,” said a leading official of Chengdu in the welcome speech at the Opening Ceremony.
In terms of digital economy, Ms. Beate Trankmann, UNDP Resident Representative for China, further noted, “Digital platforms have played an important role in the combat against the COVID-19 pandemic. From expanding the coverage of the healthcare system to securing employment and the accessibility to basic commodity, they have been proven as the lifeline of hundreds of millions of people. It is estimated that in the next decade, digital economy will account for 25% of global GDP.”
Following the Opening Ceremony was the Summit Forum on Opportunities and Challenges in EU-China Digital Trade, the main forum of EU-China 2020. At the forum, Chinese and European guests delivered keynote speeches on the opportunities and challenges in EU-China digital trade, and delegates from companies and institutions held a summit dialogue for in-depth exploration.
At the Forum on EU-China Investment Facilitation held on the afternoon of the day, three EU-China regional economic cooperation projects with a total investment amount of RMB 660 million were signed, including the Global Operation Headquarters of SynSense and the Central and Western China Operation Center of Europ Assistance, which will be implemented in CDHT. Founded in Switzerland, SynSense is a world-leading hi-tech company specializing in the design and development of brain-inspired intelligence chips. It is to establish an independent legal entity in CDHT for the investment in and operation of its global headquarters, which will be engaged in the R & D, production, and application of world-leading neuromorphic intelligent chips. The Central and Western China Operation Center of Europ Assistance will be located at the Business & Innovation Centre for China-Europe Cooperation. It will offer China’s first pilot service of “activating the medical insurance accounts of foreign nationals in China,” establish an international medical consumption center, and provide services such as the comprehensive assistance services for long-term care insurance.
It is understood that on November 12, two more events will be held, which are organized by CCPIT Chengdu and Chengdu Bureau of Education. At the 3rd Roundtable on Sino-European Cooperation for Convention and Exhibition Industry, discussions and exchanges will be held around issues of “Post-COVID-19 Development Trends of Convention and Exhibition Host Cities” and “EU-China Coordination in Digital Conventions and Exhibitions to Jointly Build a Convention and Exhibition Ecosystem” and the Chengdu Initiative on EU-China Cooperation & Development in New MICE Economy will be released. At the 2nd Exchange Event on Sino-European Cooperation for Vocational Education themed by “Cooperation Directions and Development Prospects of Post-COVID-19 EU-China Vocational Education”, delegates from European and Chinese vocational education institutions will have exchanges on new development thoughts and trends of vocational education in the two sides and hold matchmaking discussions.
Two UN Cooperation Projects Unveiled with a Focus on Scientific and Technological Innovation
At the opening ceremony, UNDP SDG Innovation Lab (SPARK Lab) in Chengdu and UNIDO ITPO (Beijing) Western China Regional Coordination Center (Chengdu) were officially unveiled.
It is learned that the SPARK Lab is jointly established by CDHT, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and China International Center for Economic and Technical Exchanges, with the support from the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Commerce of China. It is the only innovation platform under the cooperation between the UN and a local government in China and an important platform for the presence of UNDP Asia-Pacific Region with scientific and technological innovation as the core. The project is committed to promoting the swift integration of Chengdu and Western China into the global systems in scientific and technological innovation, international exchanges, and construction of free trade zones, relying on UNDP’s global network and experience in sustainable development.
“In recent years, CDHT has accelerated its pace in opening up, intensified international exchanges and cooperation, deeply integrated into global supply and innovation chains, and boosted the construction of national high-quality development demonstration zones and international industrial new areas. The implementation of the project will further unleash CDHT’s innovation-based momentum for future development and promote the transformation of its development path from capacity-driven to momentum-driven,” said a leading official of CDHT.
UNIDO ITPO (Beijing) Western China Regional Coordination Center (Chengdu) is organized and implemented by CDHT and China International Center for Economic and Technical Exchanges of the Ministry of Commerce of China. Its operation will focus on promoting the innovation capability and global vision of Chengdu and CDHT, holding sideline activities and exchange sessions on technology for major investment promotion events, strengthening personnel training, and providing think tank support.
It is worth mentioning that UNIDO ITPO (Beijing) is one of the supporters of EU-China 2020. It is understood that to overcome the impact of the pandemic and to guarantee the smooth proceeding of the “Cloud EU-China”, during the preparations of the event, the hosts and international originations agreed to let UNIDO ITPO (Beijing) assist in inviting and confirming delegates from relevant European institutions and companies that are able to attend in person. Those that fail to attend in person due to pandemic prevention measures will participate the event “on line” in the form of VCR and video link so that important messages can be conveyed and effective exchanges for cooperation can be held.
At the venue of EU-China 2020, there is a special area for exhibition and display, providing Chinese and European guests and delegates with a new experience for matchmaking discussion and exchanges for cooperation. Products for on-site display involve electronic information, big data, 5G telecommunication, biomedicine, and new economy, presented by nearly a hundred companies, including BOE Technology, XGIMI, Tencent, and TD Tech. it is learned that on November 12, over one hundred companies, including Netherlands Business Support Office and PM International from Germany, will participate in the matchmaking session at the venue of the event, to further promote the cooperation between Chinese and European companies.
Seeking New Engines for Economic Growth and Boosting High-quality Development with Opening Up
In recent years, the EU and China have maintained steady growth in investment and trade volume and expanded the areas for cooperation; digital economy and digital trade have become new focus and growth points for bilateral cooperation. On September 14, China and Germany and the EU officially signed the Agreement Between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the European Union on Cooperation on, and Protection of, Geographical Indications. This is the first comprehensive and high-level bilateral agreement on geographical indications signed by the EU with China, a milestone in strengthening the economic and trade relations between the two sides.
2020 marks the 15th year since the launch of EU-China in Chengdu. As the national central city closest to Europe and the national portal city for Pan-Europe and Pan-Asia, Chengdu further highlights its advantages to intensify the cooperation with Europe and puts all efforts in promoting “expansion in four directions and opening up of the whole region.” From January to September this year, Chengdu achieved a regional GDP of over RMB 1.2 trillion, an increase of 2.6%, ranking the third among China’s sub-provincial divisions, following Shenzhen and Guangzhou. Its total imports and exports reached RMB 523.15 billion, an increase of 25.3%, of which the volume of trade with the EU increased by 36.9%. Chengdu’s Shuangliu International Airport ranked the second in the country in terms of passenger throughput in the first three quarters. 2,991 international trains were operated, among which China-Europe trains accounted for 1,632, an increase of 55.9%. With the deepening of foreign exchanges and cooperation, Chengdu now hosts a total of 20 approved consular offices, consulates of eight European countries, business representative offices of 13 European countries or cities, and branches of 301 Fortune-500 companies. It is also a sister city with 40 European cities.
In 2019, the Business & Innovation Centre for China-Europe Cooperation in CDHT became the permanent venue of EU-China. As one of the most export-oriented and internationalized areas in Western China, CDHT is now an important window for foreign affairs of Chengdu and an important bridge for the comprehensive cooperation between Western China and the EU. It has promoted the upgrades of EU-Chengdu relations and intensified the cooperation with the EU.
The three-year-old Business & Innovation Centre for China-Europe Cooperation is building a national platform for opening up to and cooperation with Europe, with the core functional position of the “Centre for EU-China Business and Trade, Exchanges, and Services”. So far, the centre hosts offices of over 170 internationally renowned institutions and companies, including the Bavarian Representative Office in Chengdu, China Headquarters of Opera, Sigfox IoT, Amazon International Innovation Center, Asia-Pacific Headquarters of Vertu International, and German Visa Application Centre. As a demonstration site for the construction of international business environment, the centre provides a new model for administrative approval and services that is innovative in the whole country. It has the first center for “Government Affairs Service for Tianfu Free Trade Zone” for foreign nationals. Foreign-related companies, multinationals, and foreign nationals can have access to “one-stop” bilingual government affairs, agency, and life services in the forms of “online, offline, and self-service”.
“We will actively seize the opportunities of the ‘Belt and Road’, New Western Land-Sea Corridor, and construction of Chengdu-Chongqing economic circle to integrate into the domestic-international dual circulation pattern. We will also give full play to the functions of the Business & Innovation Centre for China-Europe Cooperation to encourage and support foreign businesses to invest in key industries. In addition, we will keep optimizing business environment to promote the mutual development of investment and trade between Chengdu and the EU and construct a world-class hi-tech park in a high-quality manner,” said a leading official of CDHT.
Source: IDG World Expo