Sino-Eu­ro­pean links get big fillip

China Daily (Canada) - - BUSINESS -

Eco­nomic Fo­rum notes that the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive is cru­cial to boost cul­tural, trade ties

de­vel­op­ment plan.

“Faced with such great op­por­tu­ni­ties, we hope to share in­dus­try de­vel­op­ment in­sights, tech­niques and our pas­sion for soc­cer with our friends in Poland and other Eu­ro­pean coun­tries,” said Chen.

Aside from na­tional-level in­vest­ments led by the cen­tral govern­ment, lo­cal gov­ern­ments also in­tend to sup­port soc­cer in­dus­try de­vel­op­ment plans, ac­cord­ing to Chen. Lo­cal gov­ern­ments’ to­tal planned in­vest­ments un­til 2025 are es­ti­mated at 7 tril­lion yuan.

Kryn­ica, a county lo­cated in eastern Poland and fa­mous for its min­eral springs, holds in­ter­na­tional events as well as po­lit­i­cal and sci­en­tific sem­i­nars ev­ery year. The most fa­mous event is the Eco­nomic Fo­rum, the largest con­fer­ence in Cen­tral and Eastern Europe, a re­gion known as the CEE.

This year, the three-day fo­rum started on Sept 4. More than 4,000 po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic and so­cial lead­ers from over 60 coun­tries in Europe, Asia, the United States and the Mid­dle East at­tended.

A group of 24 Chi­nese del­e­gates, or­ga­nized by the Chi­nese Peo­ple’s As­so­ci­a­tion for Friend­ship with For­eign Coun­tries, at­tended the 2018 Eco­nomic Fo­rum in Kryn­ica. It was the fourth year the as­so­ci­a­tion has led the Chi­nese del­e­ga­tion to the fo­rum.

Del­e­gates in­cluded county-level lo­cal govern­ment of­fi­cials from Sichuan, Fu­jian and He­nan provinces and In­ner Mon­go­lia, seek­ing fur­ther co­op­er­a­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties with Eu­ro­pean coun­tries.

The fo­rum has broad­ened its dis­cus­sions in re­cent years as top­ics re­lated to China are con­sid­ered “ab­so­lutely nec­es­sary”, said Zyg­munt Berdy­chowski, chair­man of the Eco­nomic Fo­rum Pro­gram Coun­cil.

“As a gi­ant econ­omy, China is at­trac­tive for Eu­ro­pean en­ter­prises, and I hope the fo­rum can sup­port the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, as well as pro­mote co­op­er­a­tion be­tween China and the CEE, be­cause it will be an im­por­tant plat­form to dis­cuss BRI de­vel­op­ment with coun­tries along the routes,” he added.

Krzysztof Gawkowski, sec­re­tary­gen­eral of the Pol­ish Demo­cratic Left Al­liance, said that Sino-Poland co­op­er­a­tion in poverty al­le­vi­a­tion projects and the pen­sion in­dus­try could be fur­ther strengthened, es­pe­cially at the county and city lev­els.

“We could learn from each other’s ex­pe­ri­ences in im­ple­ment­ing govern­ment poli­cies,” he said.

Liu Hong, deputy di­rec­tor of the For­eign and Over­seas Chi­nese Af­fairs Of­fice in Zhengzhou, He­nan prov­ince, also in­tro­duced an ex­am­ple of BRI co­op­er­a­tion to the fo­rum.

As the largest traf­fic hub in Cen­tral China, Zhengzhou is plan­ning to start non-stop flights to Eu­ro­pean coun­tries, “pro­vid­ing our ci­ti­zens op­por­tu­ni­ties to taste de­li­cious food and wine in Europe af­ter a fast- er jour­ney”, said Liu, who called the di­rect air route a “new silk road in the air”.

With its start­ing point in Zhengzhou, 299 freight trains trav­eled along the China-Europe line in the first six months of the year, car­ry­ing goods to 24 coun­tries in the Eu­ro­pean Union and Cen­tral Asia, ac­cord­ing to Liu.

The route from Zhengzhou is one of the busiest rail lines be­tween China and Europe, as an im­por­tant link among economies in the con­ti­nents along the Belt and Road routes, strength­en­ing trade links, ac­cord­ing to ex­perts.

With spe­cial tax in­cen­tive poli­cies, Zhengzhou is a pi­lot zone pro­mot­ing the na­tion’s cross-bor­der ecom­merce de­vel­op­ment. Ecom­merce giants in­clud­ing Alibaba and JD, as well as global lo­gis­tics com­pa­nies such as UPS and DHL, have es­tab­lished goods dis­tri­bu­tion cen­ters in the city.

“Now peo­ple liv­ing in Eu­ro­pean coun­tries can re­ceive de­liv­er­ies from Zhengzhou with the tap of a smart­phone but­ton. We call it the on­line silk road,” Liu said.

Of­fi­cials from lo­cal gov­ern­ments in China agreed that be­sides cap­i­tal­in­cen­tive in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ments, there are var­i­ous ways to strengthen the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive co­op­er­a­tion be­tween China and the CEE, and across the whole of Europe.

“The key is to un­der­stand the real needs of both sides, based on in-depth com­mu­ni­ca­tion,” said Yun Lin­qiong, Qing­shuihe county Party sec­re­tary in In­ner Mon­go­lia.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Soc­cer play­ers pose for a photo af­ter an in­ter­na­tional in­vi­ta­tion match at the soc­cer-themed park in Horinger in the In­ner Mon­go­lia au­ton­o­mous re­gion.

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