At the 12th China-EU Business Summit, Premier Li Keqiang delivered a 20-minute speech and drew sustained applause six times.
1. “To counter international uncertainties with a stable China-EU relationship and our consistent commitment to multilateralism”
This was what Premier Li said when he talked about the purpose of his visit, which immediately drew sustained applause, as it impressed every European during a time of uncertain US-EU ties, the risk of Brexit, populism on the rise, and a series of crises such as terrorism, refugees and government debts. Therefore, a stable China-EU relationship will definitely provide timely help.
Baskale Delcominette, head of the Walloon Export and Foreign Investment Agency, said that in recent years, against a background of increasing protectionism, China and the EU are still each other’s most reliable, cooperative partners. The EU and China are highly complementary, and the EU is expected to play a bigger role in the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China. “We hope that, with Premier Li’s visit, cooperation between the EU and China could be further enhanced,” she added.
2. “Both being beneficiaries of free trade, China and the EU should also be its staunch advocates”
“Powered by trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, economic globalization has always been and will continue to be a major driver for sustained global growth. Although economic globalization is not problem-free, we need to face up to these problems and make efforts to address and alleviate their adverse impacts,” the Premier said in his speech. “The most urgent task now is to uphold free trade, re-energize trade and investment, push the global economy onto the track of steady recovery and spread the benefits of economic globalization to more countries and communities.”
His point of view was echoed by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who said that “the EU and China are dedicated to an open world, and a rule-based international system and free and fair trade, and both sides are striving to seek solutions to these problems”.
3. “Total volume of Chinese economy keeps growing”
The total volume of the Chinese economy has maintained a medium to high growth rate, surpassing $11 trillion in last year, Premier Li said.
“The Chinese economy has entered a crucial stage of consumption and industrial upgrading, leading to growing demands for high-quality consumer goods, advanced technology and equipment and quality services from Europe,” the Premier said. Meanwhile, improved economic performance, expanding household consumption and increased infrastructure investment in Europe will generate new opportunities for Chinese businesses.
The Premier’s speech is inspiring, and China will bring new opportunities for the economic growth of Europe, Jochum S. Haakma, chairman of the EU-China Business Association, told reporters.
The development of China, especially the Belt and Road Initiative, will bring unprecedented opportunities for Europe, Haakma added.
4~5. “We are ready to work with the EU side to accelerate negotiations for a high-standard investment agreement”
Premier Li raised both of his hands to express his support for the establishment of the China-EU free trade area, which won continuous applause twice from the audience.
The Premier has reiterated that China will never shut its door to the outside world, but only open ever wider.
Recently, the Catalogue for the Guidance of Foreign Investment Industries was revised for the seventh time, and the scope of restricted industries was narrowed by another one-third. The negative list model of foreign investment management is being rolled out nationwide.
“All enterprises registered in China, be they Chinese or foreign, are all treated as equals by the Chinese government,” the Premier said.
Meanwhile, the Premier also hoped the EU side will give fair treatment to Chinese enterprises in terms of investment review.
6. “It is all the more important for China and the EU to stand firmly together, jointly advance mutually beneficial cooperation toward a higher level and better quality for the benefit of both peoples, and make even greater contributions to world peace and common development”
As the Premier said, after a journey of more than 40 years, China-EU relations have moved onto a track of more mature and sound development. The China-EU cooperation has been making steady and all-round progress, with fruitful economic and trade cooperation and frequent people-to-people exchanges.
The growth of China-EU cooperation is a natural outcome of their complementary strengths, and has delivered benefits to people on both sides, the Premier said.
This business summit is a rare opportunity for enterprises from both sides, said Jo Leinen, president of the European Parliament Delegation for relations with China. He hoped both sides will accelerate their cooperation in trade, investment and other sectors.
The EU and China should join hands to further promote free trade, seek solutions to tackle climate change, and maintain global peace and regional stability. The world needs close China-EU cooperation more than ever before, he added.