Foreign and Military Affairs

China-EU economic ties boosted in 2010

Updated: 2010-12-27 10:04


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BRUSSELS - As Europe continued its recovery from the global economic crisis, China-EU economic and trade relations were further boosted in 2010. Despite trade frictions and disputes, officials and businesses saw great potential in future ties.

Trade ties advanced to pre-crisis level

Latest data from EU statistical bureau Eurostat showed that from January to September, the EU's exports to China reached 82.3 billion euros ($107.8 billion), up by 39 percent compared with the same period in 2009. And the EU's imports from China grew by 30 percent, standing at 204.5 billion euros.

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According to statistics from China, during the first 10 months of this year, China-EU trade reached $433.9 billion, gaining by 33 percent compared with the corresponding period of 2009. The figure is 10 percent higher than that of the same period in 2008, before the international financial crisis broke out.

Besides the increase in trade, two-way investment also grew steadily in volume and expanded to various sectors. China's statistics showed that the EU invested $5.1 billion in China in the first 10 months this year.

EU businesses are widening their investment from the traditional manufacturing sector to such sectors as service and risk investments. China's direct investment in Europe grew by more than five times in the first three quarters of this year and more Chinese companies are looking to invest in Europe.

Song Zhe, head of the Chinese mission to the EU, attributed the notable increase in bilateral trade and investment to the economic complementarity of the two sides.

"Although the shadow of the international financial crisis has never left us and the world on the whole is still going through a slow recovery, the economic complementarity, mutual benefit, and win-win progress between China and Europe have constituted an important basis for the fast growth and achievements of our economic and trade cooperation," Song told the European Parliament in earlier December.

He said close communication and strong policy coordination to maintain open markets also played an important part in the advancing of bilateral economic ties, citing the 13th China-EU Summit and the 6th China-EU Business Summit in October as an example.

Great potential ahead

During the business summit held in Brussels, business leaders from both sides saw great potential in further advancing their economic ties.

Wan Jifei, chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), said during the business summit that China and Europe had entered a new era of trade cooperation with great prospects for further expansion after decades of efforts.

"Europe is important to an emerging economy like China, which is in a crucial economic transformation period trying to readjust its industrial set-up and foster the development of high-tech and high value-added industries," Wan said.

Bernard Dewit, chairman of Belgian Chinese Chamber of Commerce, told Xinhua during the business summit that he looked forward to the expanding of economic ties between Europe and China. Dewit hoped more and more Chinese companies would come to Europe, opening the European market for their products and creating more jobs for Europeans.

Song also said China's 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15) would offer great opportunities for businesses in Europe and China.

Europe could make advantage of China's enlarged consumer market, adjustment of industrial structure, commitment to developing green economy, and China's science and technology advancement, the ambassador said.

Challenges remain

With the deepening of economic ties, China-EU trade ties have inevitably seen frictions and disputes. The EU launched a number of anti-dumping cases against Chinese products, which China's businesses regarded as unfair and a type of trade protectionism.

But, Wan said the two sides need to look at the trade disputes objectively and resort to negotiations, arbitrations, legal measures or a dispute settlement mechanism of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Trade wars would be the last thing the two sides want, he stressed.

To address the challenges, Song suggested the two sides strengthen strategic mutual trust and accommodate each other's concerns. Both China and the EU should guard against trade protectionism and keep their markets open, he said.

Song said increased policy coordination and stronger cooperation are also needed to tackle the challenges.


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