Europe-China Forum - Looking forward, looking back

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Europe-China Forum - Looking forward, looking back

Summary

Europe and China are expanding their cooperation into new areas, including the digital sector, infrastructure and the building of smart cities, participants told the Europe-China Forum, set up by Friends of Europe in cooperation with the Chinese Mission to the EU. The Forum was held on June 30, just a day after the official EU-China Summit attended by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

The focus was on possible synergies between China’s ambitious “One Belt, One Road” initiative and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s investment plan aims to unlock 300 billion euros of investment over three years to create a million jobs in the EU.

“If we combine the Juncker Plan and One Belt One Road, then I think a free trade zone could come into effect in 2020,” said Chi Fulin, President of the China Institute for Reform and Development (CIRD). “I think it’s doable if we cooperate carefully. The next five years are a crucial time.”

Though EU-China trade is booming, the FTA hoped for by Chi is generally seen as some way off: Europeans want first to secure a better legal framework for investors in China.

However, while governments talk, the Chinese digital scene is buzzing with new start-ups and products for China’s 640 million netizens. Europeans want a piece of the action, but want also to be involved in the research and rule-making that underpins the sector.

“We need to have access to standardisation bodies and R&D programmes just like Chinese companies have in Europe,” said Linda Corugedo Steneberg, Principal Adviser at the European Commission Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG CONNECT). “The only way for any relationship to prevail over the longer term is if there is something in it for both sides.”

Europe might be able to contribute to another phenomenon sweeping China: urbanisation. The country was overwhelmingly rural a few decades back, but 45% of people in China lived in cities by 2010. That’s projected to reach 60% by 2030, exacerbating a range of challenges from sanitation to the residential status of migrant workers.

“We are trying to mould a human-centred development for our cities in the future,” said Li Tie, Director General of the China Centre for Urban Development of the NDRC. “We would like to learn from Europe about better governance.” That, he specified, does not mean copying the superficial features of European cities, such as their buildings. “How can we learn the essence and real spirit of city government in Europe? How can we ensure that government will reform at the same time? All these things are crucial.”

5th Europe-China forum

IMAGE CREDIT: CC / FLICKR – Jonas

About

About

China’s economic transformation continues to intrigue and mesmerise – and create immense business opportunities – for a closely-watching world. The coming decade promises to be even more transformative as China shifts the focus to sustainable, green, high-quality growth, the development of the service sector and speeds up efforts to build a digital economy. China’s start-up scene is abuzz with new products, new ideas and new investments. With access to some 640 million Chinese netizens, including 530 million mobile internet users, China now boasts a new class of internet companies which are creating their own business models, becoming increasingly innovative and extending their outreach in rural as well as in urban areas. What are the key challenges facing “Digital China”? How do China’s ambitions fit in with Europe’s own efforts to create a more competitive “Digital Europe”? What is the significance of China’s “Internet Plus” plan and 5G cooperation between the EU and China? Does China’s service-led economic transformation create new opportunities for EU-China innovation cooperation? What new investment opportunities will be opening up in China’s services sector in areas such as transport, communications, finance and health care?

IMAGE CREDIT: CC / FLICKR – Jonas

Schedule

Schedule

Session I “Digital China” and services. New chapters in China’s economic transformation
Expand Session I “Digital China” and services. New chapters in China’s economic transformation

China’s economic transformation continues to intrigue and mesmerise – and create immense business opportunities – for a closely-watching world. The coming decade promises to be even more transformative as China shifts the focus to sustainable, green, high-quality growth, the development of the service sector and speeds up efforts to build a digital economy. China’s start-up scene is abuzz with new products, new ideas and new investments. With access to some 640 million Chinese netizens, including 530 million mobile internet users, China now boasts a new class of internet companies which are creating their own business models, becoming increasingly innovative and extending their outreach in rural as well as in urban areas. What are the key challenges facing “Digital China”? How do China’s ambitions fit in with Europe’s own efforts to create a more competitive “Digital Europe”? What is the significance of China’s “Internet Plus” plan and 5G cooperation between the EU and China? Does China’s service-led economic transformation create new opportunities for EU-China innovation cooperation? What new investment opportunities will be opening up in China’s services sector in areas such as transport, communications, finance and health care?

With

Chi Fulin

President of the China Institute for Reform and Development (CIRD)

Linda Corugedo Steneberg

Principal Adviser at the European Commission Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG CONNECT)

Luigi Gambardella

President of ChinaEU

Jeongmin Seong

Senior Fellow at the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) and co-author of the MGI report: “China’s digital transformation: The Internet’s impact on productivity and growth”

Larry Stone

President, Group Public and Government Affairs at BT Group

Moderated by

Shada Islam

Managing Director at New Horizons Project

Tea break
Lunch break
Session II - Strengthening connections. “One Belt, One Road”, trade and investments
Expand Session II - Strengthening connections. “One Belt, One Road”, trade and investments

President Xi Jinping’s plans for the Silk Road Economic Belt and a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (termed together “One Belt, One Road”) aimed at building two economic corridors with important development implications for many nations. China has set aside 40 billion dollars for the Silk Road Fund and another 100 billion dollars are being invested in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). How will Europe benefit from the construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt? What is the potential for synergies between the Chinese and European infrastructure and connectivity policies? Which sectors are likely to benefit most from such cooperation? What will be the role of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in financing the “One Belt, One Road” initiative? Can the EU and China work together to build and improve the decision-making and governance mechanisms of the AIIB? How are negotiations proceeding on an EU-China Bilateral Investment Treaty? How will the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) impact on China? Could the successful negotiation of the investment accord pave the way for talks on an EU-China free trade agreement?

Introductory remarks by

Lv Fengding

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

With

Jo Leinen

Chair of the European Parliament Delegation for relations with the People's Republic of China (2014-2019)

Mario Esteban

Senior Analyst at the Real Instituto Elcano

Yonghui Li

President of the International Relations Institute, Beijing Foreign Studies University

Emmanuelle Maire

Head of Unit Internal Market and Airports, Directorate for Aviation and International Transport Affairs at the European Commission Directorate General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE)

Haiyan Zhang

Professor of Asia/China Business Strategy and Management and Director of NEOMA Confucius Institute for Business at the NEOMA Business School

André Loesekrug-Pietri

Chairman and Scientific Director of the Joint European Disruptive Initiative (JEDI) and 2013 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Xiaolu Zhang

Assistant General Manager of Bank of China (Luxembourg)

Moderated by

Shada Islam

Managing Director at New Horizons Project

Speakers

Speakers

Giles Merritt
Giles Merritt

Founder

Show more information on Giles Merritt

Giles Merritt is the Founder of Friends of Europe, and was its Secretary General between 1999 and 2015, and its Chairman between 2016 and 2020.

A former Financial Times Brussels Correspondent, Giles Merritt is a journalist, author and broadcaster who has for over four decades specialised in European public policy questions. In 2010 he was named by the Financial Times as one of its 30 most influential “Eurostars”, together with the European Commission’s President and NATO’s Secretary General.

Giles Merritt joined the Financial Times in 1968, and from 1972 until 1983 he was successively FT correspondent in Paris, Dublin/Belfast, and Brussels. From 1984 to 2010 he was a columnist for the International Herald Tribune (IHT), where his Op-Ed page articles ranged widely across EU political and economic issues.

In 1982 he published “World Out of Work”, an award-winning study of unemployment in industrialised countries. In 1991, his second book “The Challenge of Freedom” about the difficulties facing post-communist Eastern Europe was published in four languages. His book “Slippery Slope: Europe’s Troubled Future” (Oxford University Press 2016), was shortlisted for the European Book Prize.

Photo of Chi Fulin
Chi Fulin

President of the China Institute for Reform and Development (CIRD)

Show more information on Chi Fulin

As President, Chi Fulin leads the China Institute for Reform and Development’s efforts to facilitate China’s economic and development policy. He has published over 500 academic papers and is the recipient of numerous awards. Chi was listed in 2009 as one of the ‘100 Economists that have influenced China’s economic construction in the last 60 years’. In addition to his role at CIRD, he serves in numerous leadership positions including as Vice-Chairman of the China Society of Economic and Administrative Reform.

Photo of Jeongmin Seong
Jeongmin Seong

Senior Fellow at the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) and co-author of the MGI report: “China’s digital transformation: The Internet’s impact on productivity and growth”

Show more information on Jeongmin Seong
Photo of Jo Leinen
Jo Leinen

Chair of the European Parliament Delegation for relations with the People's Republic of China (2014-2019)

Show more information on Jo Leinen

A member of the European Parliament for twenty years, Jo Leinen previously served as President of the Constitutional Affairs Committee, Chair of the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and took part in the Convention for the Elaboration of a Charter of Fundamental Rights for the EU. In his latest role he was responsible for relations with China. His work also covered relations between the EU and UN, as well as with the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States (ACP). Prior to joining the European Parliament, Leinen was Minister for the Environment in the State Government of Saarland, Germany.

Photo of Emmanuelle Maire
Emmanuelle Maire

Head of Unit Internal Market and Airports, Directorate for Aviation and International Transport Affairs at the European Commission Directorate General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE)

Show more information on Emmanuelle Maire
Photo of André Loesekrug-Pietri
André Loesekrug-Pietri

Chairman and Scientific Director of the Joint European Disruptive Initiative (JEDI) and 2013 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on André Loesekrug-Pietri

André Loesekrug-Pietri is an entrepreneur and has held leadership positions in private equity, government and industry. He is currently the Chairman of JEDI, which aims to accelerate Europe’s leadership by financing and nurturing the development of breakthrough technologies. He previously served as a special advisor to the French Minister of Defence, where he was responsible for European defence policy, as well as technology and innovation, prior to which he has 15 years of experience in private equity and venture capital. Loesekrug-Pietri is a lecturer at Sciences Po and a regular columnist at several international media outlets. Having studied aerospace engineering, he is also a private pilot and Colonel with the French Air Force People’s Reserve.

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