LIU XIAOMING: Gain Insights into New Trends, Grasp New Paths, and Open New Prospects

  • Dear friends,

    Good morning!

    First of all, I would like to extend my warm congratulations on the opening of the 2021 Sino-European Entrepreneurs Summit Qingdao Forum.

    During my tenure as the Chinese ambassador to the UK, I attended the Sino-European Entrepreneurs Summit in London three times. This is the first time I have attended the summit in China.

    Compared with the previous summits, there are obvious changes this time: the venue, the format and more importantly, the international landscape. But the mission of the summit -- to promote China-European cooperation – remains the same.

    The theme of this summit is "New Trends, New Paths, New Kinetic Energy-Promoting Dual-Circular Development, Deepening Inter-regional Cooperation, and Reshaping the Pattern of Globalization". This theme is not only timely, but also very important. In this regard, I would like to share my thoughts.


    What are the new global trends?

    The world today is undergoing major changes unseen in a century.

     First, the international balance of power is undergoing profound changes. A group of emerging markets and developing countries represented by China have risen and grown in strength and international influence. The international balance of power has been moving towards equilibrium. In particular, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, the Chinese people have built a moderately prosperous society in all respect, and are marching toward the second centenary goal of building a modern and powerful socialist country in an all-round way. China has become an important, positive force for global peace and development.

    Second, the uncertainty and instability are on the rise. At present, the spread of the epidemic, economic recession and difficulties in governance are outstanding challenges facing human society. Unilateralism, protectionism and power politics are the main obstacles to international cooperation. The world is at a crossroads.

    Third, a new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation are developing in depth. Cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, quantum technology and genetic engineering have made continuous breakthroughs, spawning a large number of new industries, new business forms and new models. Automation and AI have become increasingly popular, which has fundamentally changed the trajectory of human history.

    As the world's two major forces, two major markets, and two major civilizations, China and Europe have the important task of maintaining world peace and stability and promoting common development and prosperity. As comprehensive strategic partners, China and Europe should deepen practical cooperation in economy and trade and make joint effort to safeguard free trade and the multilateral trading system. This not only provides strong support for the realization of their respective economic and social development, but also adds positive energy to the recovery of the world economy after the epidemic and the stability of the global industrial and supply chains.

    Last year, China became the EU's largest trading partner. In the first 10 months of this year, China-EU trade increased by 20.4% year-on-year. In the face of the changes unseen in a century intertwined with the worst pandemic in a hundred years, China and the Europe need mutual respect and mutually beneficial cooperation more than ever.


    What is the new path of global development against the changes unseen in a century?

    One is opening up. Closing the door won’t help anyone get ahead. But openness brings progress. It is the general trend for countries to move towards greater openness and integration.

    Openness is the distinctive sign and key to the development in contemporary China. At the opening ceremony of the 4th CIIE recently, President Xi Jinping emphasized that China’s resolve to open wider at a high standard will not change, its determination to share development opportunities with the rest of the world will not change, and its commitment to an economic globalization that is more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all will not change. Openness and inclusiveness are also European traditions.

    It is in the spirit of openness and inclusiveness that China and Europe reached an investment agreement last year. The agreement is conducive to stabilizing and unblocking the global industrial and supply chains. It will provide greater market access, a better business environment, stronger institutional guarantees and brighter cooperation prospects for the mutual investment between China and Europe. The agreement also sent a positive signal to the world that China and Europe are upholding multilateralism and supporting economic globalization. It is hoped that the two sides will work together to overcome obstacles and promote the early entry into force of the agreement, provide more opportunities for business cooperation, and bring more benefits to the people in China and Europe.

    Second is innovation. Conservation leads to regression, and innovation promotes development. China is seizing the historical opportunity of the new round of scientific and technological revolution, promoting the important supporting and leading role of scientific and technological innovation, integrating into the global innovation network actively and carrying out multi-level and wide-ranging scientific and technological exchanges and cooperation. Europe is the origin of the industrial revolution and the cradle of technological innovation. The EU’s “2030 Digital Compass Plan” will usher in a new digital era in Europe. By working together on innovation, China and Europe will contribute new impetus to human development.

    Third is unity. In the face of global issues such as terrorism, climate change, cyber security and biosecurity, there is no way out alone. Covid-19 has drive home the fact that people of all countries are passengers in the same boat and should help each other, and the concept of a community with a shared future for mankind has become increasingly popular. Solidarity not division, openness not seclusion, and cooperation not confrontation are increasingly becoming the common choice of the international community.


    The new path brings new momentum and creates new opportunities. How should Chinese and European businesses grasp it?

    First, expand bilateral trade opportunities. The China-EU Geographical Indications Agreement came into effect last year. Anji white tea, Nanjing brine duck, French champagne, Bavarian beer, Parma ham and other high-quality products from China and Europe have enriched the lives of people in both places. Not long after the Polish milk brand "Vici" entered the Chinese market, its sales soared by 70% last year. China became the fastest growing market for Polish dairy exports. With a population of more than 1.4 billion and a middle-income group of more than 400 million, China imports about US$2.5 trillion in goods and services each year. The scale and potential of China market are huge, which will provide rare opportunities for Sino-European trade. It is hoped that Chinese and European entrepreneurs will make good use of such platforms as the Canton Fair, the China International Import Expo and the Service Trade Fair to seize the opportunity of China to expand the pilot free trade zone and push China-EU trade to a new level.

    Second, increase mutual investment opportunities. China expands its opening up unswervingly, and strives to create a market-oriented, law-based, pro-business environment to provide strong guarantees for companies from all over the world who invest and start businesses in China. According to a recent survey by the European Chamber of Commerce in China, two-thirds of the European companies surveyed listed China as the top three investment destinations, and 60% of the companies have plans for expansion. The Chinese market has become an important pillar for many EU multinational companies. Chinese companies are also taking steady steps in the global market. For them, Europe is an important investment destination. At present, there are more than 800 Chinese-funded enterprises in the UK. The Hinkley Point nuclear power project, which is a trilateral cooperation between China, Britain and France, continues to advance.The Piraeus Port jointly built by China and Greece has become the largest port in the Mediterranean. The Hungary-Serbia Railway with Chinese investment is making good progress, and the Bosnia-Herzegovina expressway project has officially started. We hope to hear more good news about China-EU cooperation, and hope that Chinese and European entrepreneurs will increase mutual investment and achieve win-win cooperation.

    Third, look for opportunities for green cooperation. A highlight of this year is international cooperation on climate change. The first phase of the 15th Conference of the Parties to "Biodiversity" (COP15) in October and the just-concluded 26th Conference of the Parties to the "United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change" (COP26) injected new ideas into green cooperation. President Xi Jinping has solemnly announced the goal of carbon peak and carbon neutrality. China will focus on accelerating green, low-carbon and sustainable development, and will contribute to global climate action.

    China and Europe have established green partnerships. The China-EU High-Level Dialogue on Environment and Climate was held in February and September this year. Green development has become a new growth point for China-EU cooperation. Carbon neutrality and green finance are important topics of this forum, and it is hoped that Chinese and European business leaders will actively explore new opportunities.

    In addition, China and Europe have entered a new era of agricultural and rural development. Sustainable agricultural development is the common goal of both sides, which also provides a broad space for business cooperation between the two sides.

    Fourth, enhance opportunities for cooperation in science and technology innovation. The foundation of China-Europe scientific and technological cooperation is solid. China has established sound innovation cooperation mechanisms with the EU, with China-Central and Eastern European countries, and with the UK, France, Germany, Belgium and Finland. Innovation plays a supporting and leading role in China during the new development stage, which is highly compatible with the development direction of European digital transformation.

    In the future, the two sides will find great potential in their cooperation in artificial intelligence and digital economy. Many high-tech firms from China and Europe are present at today’s meeting. The two sides will also sign the "China-EU Enterprise Innovation Cooperation Fund Phase II Agreement". It is hoped that Chinese and European business leaders will have in-depth exchanges, mutual learning and mutual learning, and continue to bring their innovation and cooperation to the next level.

    Winston Churchill once said: "Difficulties mastered are opportunities won"

    The word “crisis” in Chinese also fully reflects the traditional Chinese wisdom that danger and opportunity exist side by side. In crisis, there are opportunities, and we must turn crises into opportunities.

    In the current Sino-European cooperation, there are challenges and opportunities. It is hoped that the business communities from both sides will gain insights into new trends, seize new opportunities, grasp new paths, and join hands to open new prospects for Sino-European cooperation!

    Thank you.

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