Economic, trade relations between China and Europe show steady growth despite global challenges – Xinhua

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This photo taken on July 11, 2022 shows a scene of the welcoming ceremony for the 10,000th journey made by China-Europe freight trains operated by China-Europe Railway Express (Chongqing) in Duisburg, Germany. (Xinhua/Ren Pengfei)

Despite a host of international political and economic challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic, China-EU economic and trade cooperation has improved in both diversity and volume.

PARIS, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) — As the world focuses on the G20 summit in Indonesia, a broad consensus has emerged that major economies like China and the European Union (EU) must work together on economic cooperation to facilitate global economic recovery and sustainable development.

Chinese President Xi Jinping met with French President Emmanuel Macron, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on the Indonesian island of Bali on Tuesday. Xi said China and the EU should adhere to the spirit of independence and self-reliance, as well as openness and cooperation to push bilateral relations towards steady progress on the right track. and inject stability and positive energy into the world.

A China-Europe freight train arrives at Xi’an International Port in Xi’an, northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, Aug. 31, 2022. (Xinhua/Li Yibo)

Booming trade

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and regional instabilities, China-Europe freight rail service has remained stable, helping to boost China-EU trade volume.

In 2021, the China-Europe freight rail service made a record 15,000 trips, carrying goods equivalent to 1.46 million 20-foot containers. This represents a growth of 22% and 29% over the previous year, respectively, according to China State Railway Group Co., Ltd..

In the first six months of 2022, the service made 7,514 freight train trips, carrying goods equivalent to 724,000 20ft container units, according to company data.

The China-Europe freight rail service has served as an important trade link between Asia and Europe. With 82 routes, the trains now serve 200 cities in 24 European countries, forming a transport network covering the whole of Europe, the company said.

The trains carry more than 50,000 types of goods in 53 categories, including automobiles and parts, clothing and accessories, and grain and lumber, helping to stabilize international supply chains.

“Especially in these difficult times, when we are also battling congestion on some shipping routes, the China-Europe freight train service is still running efficiently,” said Axel Mattern, Managing Director of Port of Hamburg Marketing, adding that he was impatient. to accommodate more trains from China.

By the end of July this year, the overall ratio of loaded containers traveling in both directions was around 98 percent, according to data released by China’s National Development and Reform Commission in August.

The freight train service has also helped build many new logistics centers and industrial and business parks along the routes, creating tens of thousands of jobs locally.

As one of the gateways to the EU, the town of Zahony in northeastern Hungary has become an important hub along the southern line. It is located less than 100 km from five borders, making it an ideal location for a logistics hub.

Norbert Csomos, general manager of MAV-REC Railway Engineering Cooperation Ltd., told Xinhua that the China-Europe freight rail service has boosted the local economy, with more Chinese companies planning to invest in Zahony.

WIN-WIN COOPERATION

The win-win cooperation between China and the EU, which attracted attention at the G20 summit, offers broader prospects for future development.

Hailing globalization as a success, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Germany had not advocated decoupling during his official visit to China earlier this month, stressing that Germany needed to do business with the rest of the world. world, including China.

Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission, said that the EU’s trade relations with China “need more balance and reciprocity” and that “the EU should continue to engage with China with pragmatism”.

Despite a host of international political and economic challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic, China-EU economic and trade cooperation has improved in both diversity and volume.

Last year, bilateral trade volume exceeded US$800 billion for the first time while investment exceeded US$270 billion in cumulative terms. In the first eight months of 2022, total trade between China and the EU stood at $575.22 billion, up 8.8 percent year on year. EU investment in China totaled $7.45 billion, up 121.5% year on year, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said a month ago.

Recalling the past 50 years of China-Germany economic and trade relations, Duisport CEO Markus Bangen expressed his confidence in the resilience of beneficial cooperation between the two countries. “We look forward to further cooperation in the future.”

Denis Depoux, Global Managing Director of Roland Berger, also praised the stability of bilateral economic and trade relations in the face of a faltering global economy that has been weakened by rising inflation, energy shortages and chain disruptions. supply throughout 2022.

“Despite the difficult circumstances, China-EU economic and trade cooperation has managed to maintain the momentum of growth and played a key role in global economic recovery,” he said in a report on the development of Chinese enterprises. in the EU.

STRONGER BONDS FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE WORLD

So far this year, Europe has attracted several major Chinese investments. Chinese battery producer Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited (CATL) has officially announced its decision to build its second European plant in Hungary, as Chinese automakers including BYD, NIO and XPeng explore market opportunities for batteries. electric vehicles in Northern Europe.

Both parties have also exploited the potential for cooperation in the renewable energy sector. The wind farm operated by CGN Europe Energy, a subsidiary of China General Nuclear Power Group, in the French village of Assac has not only provided clean energy to local residents, but has also helped turn the village into an attraction sightseeing.

A “zero carbon island” project led by the Shanghai Electric Power Company in Gozo, Malta, has found innovative ways to integrate wind and solar power, energy storage, hydrogen and technologies smart energy systems in a pilot project.

According to Pascal Gondrand, Japan & North-East Asia Director of Business France, China is the leading Asian investor in France, with 53 projects creating or maintaining 2,169 jobs in 2021.

Chinese investors have launched big projects in sectors including energy, electric vehicles, health, digital and infrastructure, Gondrand said at a forum in France in late September.

He saw a role for France, which already operates as a hub for business in Europe and the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, to work with China in the third market to promote sustainable growth.

Joint financing and investments will play a key role in promoting the economic and social development of third countries, said former French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin.

As this year marks the 50th anniversary of Sino-German diplomatic relations, Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Directors of BMW AG, said: “Our experience in China is a good example of successful collaboration between the two countries and between the China and Europe. . From our point of view, collaboration and mutual trust are essential to meet the ongoing challenges that await us all. And they are essential to creating growth and prosperity.

His view was echoed by former World Trade Organization Director General Pascal Lamy, who said that given the disastrous impact of climate change on the environment and the global economy, the EU and China should unite to reduce carbon emissions.

Speaking at an economic forum in Paris in September, Raffarin also urged France, Europe and China to find a way to steer their relationship towards multilateralism and cooperation.

“We have a vision of a multipolar world. We want balanced global governance for which we must reinvent multilateralism. Let’s talk. Dialogue,” Raffarin said.

“The more cooperation there is, the more we can limit tensions,” he added.

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