CEEC business associations seek new opportunities in Ningbo
The 6th China-CEEC Cooperation Seminar for Chambers of Commerce is held in Ningbo on June 9, 2019. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
Representatives of chambers of commerce from 17 Central and Eastern European countries explored cooperation opportunities at the 6th China-CEEC Cooperation Seminar for Chambers of Commerce in Ningbo on Sunday.
As part of the Belt and Road Initiative, China launched the "16+1 Cooperation" with 16 Central and Eastern European countries in 2012. Greece was announced a new member, turning it into the "17+1 Cooperation" at the 8th meeting of heads of government of China and Central and Eastern European countries in Dubrovnik, Croatia in April.
Statistics show that China's trade with the 16 CEEC countries totaled $82.2 billion in 2018, growing 21 percent year-on-year.
Nikoletta Kaperoni, executive president of the Hellenic-Chinese Union for Economical Commercial and Cultural Communications, said she appreciated the important role China plays in the development of the Belt and Road Initiative. She described Greece as a bridge to China's Belt and Road Initiative within aims to link China by sea with southeast and central Europe, and bring China closer to the European Union.
She argued that Greece and China could achieve mutually-beneficial cooperation in many fields, such as exporting organic products like olive oil and pure honey to CEEC markets. In addition, there could be cooperation in tourism, smart technologies and research and development, she said.
Kaperoni said Greece is planning a project to establish a special Chinese town, blending culture, art, trade and exhibitions, especially of high-quality of Chinese products, to be licensed to enter EU markets. The project will work as a multilateral platform facilitating cooperation between China and CEEC countries.
Zhang Shenfeng, vice-chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, delivered a speech at the event and shared his confidence for the increasing potential of China-CEEC cooperation.
"In terms of trade, the growing speed of bilateral trade between China and CEEC will keep outdoing that of the China-Europe. And thanks to the continuing innovation in finance and infrastructure, Central and Eastern Europe countries will gradually be a key area for China's investment in Europe and its importance will be highlighted in the future," Zhang said.
Hosted by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade and Ningbo Municipal People's Government, the event attracted the participation of representatives from 36 business associations from 17 CEECs and countries along the Belt and Road, as well as their counterparts from different promotional organizations across China.