Premier Li Keqiang had cordial discussions with European entrepreneur delegates while attending the opening ceremony of a roundtable of Chinese and EU entrepreneurs on July 16, along with Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission.
To the surprise of those present, the Premier improvised an enquiry session, requesting the entrepreneurs ask questions instead of delivering a 10-minute speech as planned in the conference program, after Juncker and Anna Cecilia Malmstrom, the European Union’s trade commissioner, briefed him about the decrease in EU investment to China in 2017.
Premier Li handed over the microphone to the present EU entrepreneurs and asked whether they have ever been stymied by any problems while investing in China, on which Juncker commented that Premier Li’s impromptu proposal was absolutely conducive to the EU investors.
No prattles, just practical solutions
Hardly had a principal of Airbus in China, a French airline, extended his gratitude for the support of certain departments concerned in China, when the Premier cut in and pressed him to report their concerns.
That immediately dispelled the principal’s misgivings, and he pointed out the procrastination of the approval procedures for production of local authorities. In response, the Premier addressed inquiries to officials of the concerned departments right away, and assured the principal that China will by all means honor signed agreements and speed up administrative approvals simultaneously.
In addition, Premier Li stated that the speedup will only materialize on condition that Airbus will safeguard security and guarantee high-quality products, to which the principal promised that they share the Premier’s concern and will always prioritize security and quality in production.
Inviolable intellectual property rights
During the state visit to Germany, Premier Li and German Chancellor Angela Merkel witnessed the signing of a joint statement on autopilot cooperation.
On hearing that BMW, the German carmaker, participated in quite a few autopilot cooperation projects, including the joint formulation of industrial bench marks, Premier Li asked whether such cooperation in deciding production standards and R&D will give rise to any IPR issues.
The Premier asked other EU enterprises about this issue. He demanded that any foreign investors plagued by forced transfer or theft of IPRs report the issues to himself and the present ministers directly, and they will crack down on such violations with zero tolerance.
At a news conference prior to the roundtable, Premier Li assured the media that China will unswervingly protect IPRs and prohibit forced technology transfer. Any violations will be punished severely so as to deter IPR infringements.
Easier market access and better business environment
With regard to declining EU investment in China raised by Juncker and Malmstrom, Premier Li provided a set of data. In 2017, China received an additional $8.29 billion in investment from the EU, while increasing its investment in the latter by $7.57 billion. From January to March 2018, the figures reached $1.69 billion and $1.4 billion, respectively. By the end of March 2018, the EU’s stock of investment in China hit $121.9 billion, while Chinese investment stock in the EU amounted to $80.63 billion.
The data show there remained a big gap, as European investment in China was more promising, said Premier Li, pleading efforts to further ease market access and optimize the business environment.
At the news conference held earlier, the Premier said maintaining two-way opening-up with the EU and creating a fair, transparent and favorable environment for Chinese businesses to trade with and invest in the EU is expected.
Before the roundtable opened, Juncker spoke in French instead of English, explaining that “it is the language of the World Cup champion”.
In response, Premier Li congratulated France, an EU member, on winning the World Cup, and wished the roundtable a complete success.