Trips underline close ties between nations

Updated: 2015-06-29 07:43

By Bernard Dewit(China Daily)

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The author is chairman of the Belgian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce.

Belgium and China have a special relationship. As the chairman of a bilateral business chamber that, proudly, has nearly 60 years of history, I have witnessed many events that illustrated the close links between the countries.

Another such occasion is happening now as Premier Li Keqiang visits my country. He will deliver speeches, witness the signing of multibillion-dollar contracts - an event I will attend - and meet European leaders before leaving for the French leg of his trip.

All this is happening immediately after King Philippe of Belgium and Queen Mathilde's state visit to China.

The king's trip was his first state visit abroad since ascending to the throne, and this shows the importance of China for Belgium.

I was proud to be a member of the king's business delegation. It was his wish to take with him a number of CEOs, something that is quite unusual on a state visit.

The biggest advantage for the business leaders was that they were able to take steps toward finalizing contracts with their Chinese counterparts who were eager to hold talks during the visit because of the prestige attached to it.

New business projects were discussed, and some could soon materialize.

The importance of Brussels and Belgium was emphasized during the state visit. The geographic location of the country at the center of Europe, as well as the presence in Brussels of prominent European institutions, should attract more Chinese companies planning to explore the European market.

The Belgian economy has always been open to the outside world, and its leading figures are keen to develop more projects with their Chinese counterparts.

The king stressed that Belgium wishes to become a member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. He said both sides should work together on the Belt and Road Initiative to link Asia and Europe more effectively.

The presence of Li in Belgium immediately after the royal state visit underlines the very good relationship that exists between the countries.

The king's visit gave companies opportunities to meet high-level people from China's business world, and we will continue with that process.