Guangdong eyes closer ties with EU

By Fu Jing in Brussels | China Daily | Updated: 2017-07-12 08:06

Guangdong province, China's economic engine for the past three decades, will play a lead role under the Belt and Road Initiative framework of promoting cooperation between China and European Union member countries, a senior official from the province said in Brussels on Monday.

"During the conversation with my Belgian colleagues, their key words are about projects, projects, and projects, which shows they are passionate about attracting investment from China," said Shen Haixiong, the head of the publicity department at the Communist Party of China's Guangdong Provincial Committee. He was speaking at a forum on the Belt and Road Initiative and regional promotion between China and the EU. "Obviously, Belgian officials share the same language with us (regarding promotion of two-way investment)."

Belgium's Limburg province, where Shen has visited, already forged a sister-city partnership with Guangdong.

Shen said promotion of people-to-people exchanges will be a crucial part of the work ahead because they could boost economic and trade cooperation between China and the EU, and Guangdong province is keen to take on a lead role. The Belt and Road forum was accompanied by an exhibition of photos and an agreement-signing ceremony related to tourism, publishing, and media cooperation involving companies from the province, including Guangdong Provincial Publishing Group, and European partners.

Prior to visiting Belgium, Shen led a delegation from Guangdong province for promotional activities in Moscow, Berlin, and the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.

As part of the promotional activities, Hamburg's International Maritime Museum is displaying around 120 items that represent the Maritime Silk Road from the 13th to 17th centuries. Guangdong Museum is supporting the exhibition. "Historically, China and Europe were closely linked by trade activities and, nowadays, China's Belt and Road Initiative has injected huge dynamics for both the European Union and China," said Shen.

"The ports in Guangdong played a large role in making the Maritime Silk Road prosperous in ancient times and, now, we are determined to do an even better job in promoting the Belt and Road Initiative."

At the forum, Yang Yanyi, head of China's Mission to the EU, lauded Guangdong province for traveling to the heart of Europe to seek cooperation and showcase the province's "unique role" in promoting the Belt and Road Initiative.

"Indeed, this event has spoken volumes about openness and inclusiveness and the miracle of Guangdong, the most economically developed province in China. It has showcased the benefits to other parts of China and the rest of the world," said Yang.

Istvan Ujhelyi, vice-chair of the European Parliament's Transport and Tourism Committee, said he believes the Belt and Road Initiative will shape the next decade and be one of the world's major initiatives.

"This is a completely new paradigm that calls on the countries of the world for a common dream: development and peace," said Ujhelyi, who is also chairman of the EU-China Belt and Road Initiative Committee, which helped organize Monday's event along with China's Mission to the EU.

"So, countries in Europe and China should capitalize on potentials ... that can turn into a key driver to achieve socioeconomic progress," said Ujhelyi.

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