4th Europe China Forum

18 November 2014 - 11:00 - 17:45
"We stand ready to work with the EU to accelerate the investment agreement talks and launch joint feasibility studies for the free trade agreement at an early date,”

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said in a message to Friends of Europe's 4th Europe China Forum aimed at developing ideas for Chinese and Europeans to contribute to a shared future.  The Forum is a joint initiative with the Chinese Mission to the EU.

China is expected to become the world's largest economy by the end of 2014, and is engaged in wide-ranging domestic reforms aimed at making its growth sustainable.
“In the next six years the Chinese market willl grow at lightening speed,” said Chi Fulin, President of the China Institute for Reform and Development. “In trade and services, the growth will be astronomical.”

China's growth is also changing how it interacts with the rest of the world. For example, Beijing is pushing initiatives such as improved “Silk Road” trade routes through Central Asia and across the Indian Ocean, and is trying to launch a comprehensive free trade framework in the Asia-Pacific area. “China's development was very pragmatic, as it tried to integrate itself into the international syustem,” said Men Jing, Director of the EU China Research Centre at the College of Europe. “Now China is proactive and taking intiatives in the world.”

Bilateral EU-China trade amounted to 428 bn euros in 2013, and President Xi Jinping wants to explore the possibility of a free trade agreement (FTA) and aim for 700 bn euros in trade by 2020. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Europe would cooperate to ensure that China's growth was sustainable. “The EU must work hand-in-hand with China on climate change, environmental protection, international development, human rights and social inclusiveness,” he said in a message delivered to the Forum.

However, Mauro Petriccione, Deputy Director General for Trade at the European Commission, said that issues such as intellectual property protection and state subsidies would have to be resolved first. And an investment agreement would have to be forged as a precursor to an FTA. “My immediate reaction is: not so fast. A free trade deal is not a game,” he said. “It is not mechannical. First we need an investment agreement and then we'll see. Europe is not an easy partner for such an agreement... we don't want to be easy.”

Special message from Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission.

Special message from Li Keqiang, Premier of the People’s Republic of China.

The report of the debates will be available soon.


09.00 - 09.30 Welcome coffee and registration of participants

With China expected to become the world’s largest economy by the end of 2014, Beijing’s economic trajectory and strategic choices will have an even bigger impact on the global economy than expected. As it seeks to widen market access and boost investor confidence, China is pushing ahead with an ambitious reform agenda to gradually allow the market to play a decisive role in resource allocation. Promises cover opening up the domestic capital market to facilitate the cross-border investment and financing activities and improving the regulations and procedures of bond issuance. Bilateral EU-China trade stood at a buoyant €428 billion last year, with President Xi Jinping saying the two sides should explore the possibility of a free trade agreement and the goal of boosting bilateral trade to €700 billion by 2020. Bilateral investment flows however show great untapped potential. What is the state of play in negotiations on an EU-China Investment Agreement? How will the agreement address the concerns of EU investors in China and Chinese investors in Europe? What are the prospects for such a deal and the main stumbling blocks? How important is it for China and the EU to negotiate a free trade agreement? How could such a deal impact on the global trade framework? What progress is being made on opening up China’s financial sector?

Opening remarks 

Giles Merritt, Secretary General of Friends of Europe, will read a special message from Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission

Zhang Lirong, Chargé d'Affaires of the Chinese Mission to the EU will read a special message from Li Keqiang,  Premier of the People's Republic of China

Lv Fengding, Vice President of the China Public Diplomacy Association (CPDA) and Former Chinese Ambassador to Sweden


Speakers include

Iana Dreyer, Founder and Editor-in-Chief at Borderlex

Isbrand Ho, Managing Director of Build Your Dreams (BYD) Europe

Ben Knapen, Brussels Permanent Representative of the European Investment Bank (EIB)

Lv Fengding, Vice President of the China Public Diplomacy Association (CPDA) and Former Chinese Ambassador to Sweden

Men Jing, InBev-Baillet Latour Professor of European Union-China Relations and Director of the EU-China Research Centre at the College of Europe

Mauro Petriccione, Deputy Director General for Trade at the European Commission

Ana Serban, Secretary General of the ND European Business Development

Moderated by Shada Islam, Director of Policy at Friends of Europe

11.30 - 12.00 Tea break

China’s rapid growth over the past three decades has been remarkable, but strains are starting to show. Sustainable and inclusive growth in China requires stronger attention to fostering innovation and effectively managing urbanisation. By 2030 Chinese cities are expected to be home to about 1 billion people, about 70% of the country’s population. Recent policy initiatives show the government’s determination to step up investment in science and technology, steer urbanisation onto a “human-centred and environmentally friendly” path and build “innovation-oriented” society by 2020. As economic growth slows down, will Beijing stay on the reform path? Is China on track to become a world class innovator? How is the education sector responding to the human capital challenge? Can the EU and China enhance cooperation on research and innovation? What are the main obstacles? What steps can be taken to strengthen the China-EU Partnership on Urbanisation? How can both sides deepen their cooperation to improve city design and the delivery of public services? What role can technology and communications play in strengthening overall EU-China relations? How can both sides foster knowledge sharing between cities and strengthen cooperation among enterprises?

Chi Fulin, President of the China Institute for Reform and Development

Jonathan Peel, Vice-President for External Relations at the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)

Diego Sammaritano, Policy Officer for Research and Innovation Cooperation with China at the European Commission

Alice Rezkova, East Asia Analyst and Research Fellow at the Association for International Affairs (AMO)

Wang Yadong, Senior Expert on China's Employment Policy at the International Labour Organization (ILO)

Dale Jiajun Wen, Visiting Fellow of Renmin University

Moderated by Shada Islam, Director of Policy at Friends of Europe

13.30 - 14.30 Networking lunch

Recognising that building trust is essential to forge a truly strategic partnership, the EU and China have expanded their relationship beyond politics and trade to include a much-needed “High- Level People-to-People Dialogue” (HPPD). In recent discussions, both sides have agreed to pay special attention to strengthening culture, education and youth exchanges. A range of joint initiatives have been launched under the HPPD framework, including the EU-China Year of Intercultural Dialogue in 2012, the Higher Education Platform for Cooperation and Exchange and the China Tuning project, aimed at jointly defining learning outcomes to better compare education systems. What are public perceptions of China in Europe and vice versa? What strategies can be implemented to improve foster better understanding between the two sides? What is the role of traditional and new media in forming and debunking those misperceptions? What progress has been made so far in encouraging more people-to-people contact between China and Europe, particularly among the youth? What further steps can be taken to expand opportunities for mobility in education and increase the number of deepen exchanges between students and scholars? How can the HPPD help promote the new Horison 2020 research programme?

Frances Ainley, Student from the College of Europe

Fu Jing, Chief Correspondent of China Daily in Brussels

Shen Wei, Director of the Confucius Institute at the Lancaster University

Androulla Vassiliou, Former Commissioner for Education and Culture

Yan Shaohua, Student from the College of Europe

Moderated by Shada Islam, Director of Policy at Friends of Europe

15.30 End of conference





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Europe’s relationship with Asia and Africa is expanding, reflecting the increasing global importance of emerging economies. We track these developments through our Asia Programme and Europe-China Forum, and through our work looking at the EU vision and strategy towards China, India, Japan and ASEAN, and its role in the Asia-Europe Meeting.

Registration for this event is now closed.
Friends of Europe is a membership based think-tank and this event is by invitation only.Sophia Kabir , Programme Manager
Tel.: +32 (0)2 893 98 21
Email: sophia.kabir@friendsofeurope.org
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Event starts
18 November