Talks taking place with EU over solar panel exports
Updated: 2013-06-25 07:41
By Fu Jing in Brussels (China Daily)
A delegation of leading Chinese private-sector entrepreneurs is expected to express concern towards the European Union's pickup in trade protectionism, in the wake of the ongoing bilateral price negotiation of China's solar panel exports, during a meeting with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso in Brussels on Monday.
But the business leaders are also expected to express a strong willingness to continue tapping the huge investment potential in Europe, with 10 private investment companies worth a minimum of 100 billion yuan ($16 billion) seeking opportunities in the continent.
The companies are in the city as part of a visit organized by the Beijing-based China Entrepreneur Club, a famed collection of market-advocating private businessmen, to explore more European opportunities.
"We are here to show our intention to work together with European partners despite both sides experiencing difficulties," Liu Chuanzhi, president of the organization, told a news conference.
"We have 10 investment companies here which represent at least 100 billion yuan investment capacity."
Liu said five investment companies had joined the tour, involving the interests of more than 40 Chinese businessmen to Belgium and France, while Beijing and Brussels are in the efforts to negotiate a comprise price for China's multi-billion-dollar solar panel exports.
As China Daily went to press, Barroso was meeting with the Chinese delegation.
The group included leading private Chinese investors, the pioneering economist Zhou Qiren, and senior diplomats including the former Chinese ambassador to France Wu Jianmin, who planned to discuss key issues with the Commission president.
The sources said the delegation was set to focus particularly on the solar dispute, market access, and issues involving high-tech transfers.
"We are here to express our concern towards the European market," said the source with the Chinese delegation.
But Liu underlined, too, that a major purpose of the visit was to expand opportunities in a continent still in recession.
The Prime Minister of Belgium Elio Di Rupo had welcomed the group on Sunday along with leading local Belgian business figures, with various meetings taking place during the day.
At a welcome dinner on Sunday, Di Rupo said: "We are in the process of reform and we are sincerely seeking to set up deep relations with Chinese entrepreneurs."
He said Belgium - a country with a population of less than half that of Beijing - was in the heart of Europe and within a radius of 500 kilometers, investors had access to the lion's share of the European market, with a high-spending population of 500 million people.
Di Rupo also said that Belgium's low real estate costs and preferential taxation policy represented an attractive alternative to many other countries.
The Chinese ambassador to Belgium Liao Liqiang, labeled the country a "global trade power" which had been exporting advanced technologies, offering governmental loans, and setting up industry funds with China since 1978.
Liao added that Belgian leaders are determined to boost cooperation with China.