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2015 Business Review XIII: Keep Going for a New Chapter of China-EU Pragmatic Economic and Trade Cooperation

In 2015, the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Europe. Europe has become China's largest trading partner, largest source of technology import and an important investment partner of China. In this year, the MOFCOM continued deepening the comprehensive economic and trade relations with European countries, and therefore, had achieved fruitful results of mutually beneficial and win-win, which further enriches the connotation of China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership.

China-EU high-level visits started a new period of all-round cooperation. In 2015, President Xi Jinping, Chinese Primer Li Keqiang and other Party and state leaders visited 12 European countries and the EU headquarters in succession, and the EU leaders and 23 heads or government heads of the European countries visited China or came to China for activities. In the above-mentioned high-level visits, the MOFCOM concluded business cooperation agreements reaching USD169.2 billion, involving energy, transportation, finance, communications, agriculture, medicine, research and development, cultural creativity, etc. In addition, the MOFCOM held the fifth China-EU high-level economic and trade dialogues, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Chancellor Merkel and China-Germany economic advisory council symposium, the 10th China-EU business summit, China-France business summit, economic and trade forum between China and Central and Eastern European countries and other series of activities. The MOFCOM held bilateral economic and trade committees with the EU and 15 European countries. China-EU economic and trade dialogue mechanism and pragmatic cooperation continued to deepen.

The connection of China-EU development strategies contained new win-win cooperation opportunities. Driven by the China-EU leaders, two core strategies, "the Belt and Road Initiative" and European Investment Plan have been connected. The MOFCOM, in concert with the relevant Chinese departments, jointly promoted the construction of four platforms with the EU side. To begin with, the two sides decided to set up China-EU joint investment fund, providing financing support for Chinese businesses' investment in the EU. Secondly, China-EU interconnection platform construction went well, laying a foundation for further cooperation of both sides in the field of infrastructure. Thirdly, cooperation in the network security and digital economy was steadily promoted, promoting both sides' policy coordination, standards preparation and enterprises cooperation. Lastly, China-EU 5G strategic cooperation makes substantive progress, bringing new opportunities for cooperation of both sides in high-tech communication field.

Trade and investment cooperation showed vigorous development situation. In 2015, bilateral trade remained stable, and the EU continued to be China's largest trading partner, largest source of imports and second largest export market. At the same time, the MOFCOM and the European commission strived to resolve differences and control trade frictions properly through dialogue and consultation. The EU's investment in China increased against the economic situation and Chinese enterprises frequently invested in the EU and conducted large M&As. ChemChina acquired Italy Pirelli, a tire enterprise and Germany plastic equipment manufacturer, KraussMaffei and other brand companies. China and the EU held nine rounds of investment treaty negotiations, after which, both sides agreed on the scope and formulated the draft of the combined text. The targets set by the leaders of both sides were completed, which laid a good foundation for the next phase negotiations on the substantive text.

"16+1 Cooperation" showed brilliant highlights. The MOFCOM promoted investment cooperation between China and eastern Europe countries to achieve new breakthroughs. For an example, the Czech Republic, became a country that enjoyed the fastest growth among other EU countries in terms of China's investment and CEFC ENERGY acquired for Czech Republic's J&T and signed to acquire other Czech Republic's projects covering aviation, media and sports. Hungary set up the China-EU trade logistics park, becoming China's first national foreign trade and economic cooperation zone in Europe. China and Hungary signed agreements concerning cooperation in development, construction and financing of Hungary section of Hungary-Serbia railway and China and Serbia concluded a master contract with respect to the modernization restructuring and reconstruction of the Serbia section of Hungary-Serbia railway. China delivered the first batch of motor train unit to Macedonia and CCECC won Montenegro railway repair and renovation project. Cooperation on traffic infrastructure construction, international capacity cooperation and equipment manufacturing industry become a new growth point of "16+1 cooperation".

Financial cooperation was deeply integrated. In 2015, 17 European countries including Britain, France and Germany joined the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and European countries supported the incorporation of Renminbi into the IMF's Special Drawing Rights (SDRS) basket; in addition, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development accepted China as a member. China-EU international exchange was formally opened in Frankfurt and four RMB offshore financial centers in London, Frankfurt, Luxembourg and Paris gradually matured; currency swaps, issuance of RMB bonds and funds and other measures provided better financial supports for the Chinese enterprises to "go global".

The third party and the international capacity cooperation opened up a mutual benefit and win-win model. China and France made joint statements in third market to open up new channels of China-EU economic and trade cooperation. Under the impetus of the MOFCOM, CGN and Electricite De France developed British Hinkley Point nuclear power project, a model of the third party market cooperation between China and the EU. Shanghai Electric Power Company developed wind power projects under the cooperation of Enemalta PLC in Republic of Montenegro; China Three Gorges Corporation, Energias de Portugal and Voith established hydropower project in Brazil, shows that China-EU seeks for breakthroughs in technology optimization allocation and win-win cooperation model innovation.

Regional cooperation was to be improved. The MOFCOM signed the memorandum of understanding on local trade and investment cooperation with the British department of business, innovation and skills departments and set up joint working groups to start up mechanism of local economic and trade cooperation between China and European countries. China-Germany (Taicang) enterprise cooperation base attracted nearly 300 small and medium-sized enterprises. The ecological park projects among China and Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France, Italy and Finland were steadily promoted.

In 2016, the first year of "the 13th Five-year Plan", the MOFCOM will earnestly implement the spirits of economic work conferences of the central government, make innovation and forge ahead under the national work conference on business deployment, to further develop economic and trade relations with European countries, actively promote the connection of "Belt and Road Initiative" with the European investment plan, and push the China-EU comprehensive economic and trade cooperation to a new level.

Translated by Wang Baihua
Proofread by Eddiea

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