Guang­dong eyes closer ties with EU

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By FU JING in Brus­sels fu­jing@chi­

Guang­dong prov­ince, China’s eco­nomic en­gine for the past three decades, will play a lead role un­der the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive frame­work of pro­mot­ing co­op­er­a­tion be­tween China and Euro­pean Union mem­ber coun­tries, a se­nior of­fi­cial from the prov­ince said in Brus­sels on Mon­day.

“Dur­ing the conversation with my Bel­gian col­leagues, their key words are about projects, projects, and projects, which shows they are pas­sion­ate about at­tract­ing investment from China,” said Shen Haix­iong, the head of the pub­lic­ity de­part­ment at the Com­mu­nist Party of China’s Guang­dong Pro­vin­cial Com­mit­tee. He was speak­ing at a fo­rum on the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive and re­gional pro­mo­tion be­tween China and the EU. “Ob­vi­ously, Bel­gian of­fi­cials share the same lan­guage with us (re­gard­ing pro­mo­tion of two-way investment).”

Bel­gium’s Lim­burg prov­ince, where Shen has vis­ited, al­ready forged a sis­ter-city part­ner­ship with Guang­dong.

Shen said pro­mo­tion of peo­ple-to-peo­ple ex­changes will be a cru­cial part of the work ahead be­cause they could boost eco­nomic and trade co­op­er­a­tion be­tween China and the EU, and Guang­dong prov­ince is keen to take on a lead role. The Belt and Road fo­rum was ac­com­pa­nied by an ex­hi­bi­tion of pho­tos and an agree­mentsign­ing cer­e­mony re­lated to tourism, pub­lish­ing, and me­dia co­op­er­a­tion in­volv­ing com­pa­nies from the prov­ince, in­clud­ing Guang­dong Pro­vin­cial Pub­lish­ing Group, and Euro­pean partners.

Prior to vis­it­ing Bel­gium, Shen led a del­e­ga­tion from Guang­dong prov­ince for pro­mo­tional ac­tiv­i­ties in Moscow, Ber­lin, and the G20 sum­mit in Ham­burg, Ger­many.

As part of the pro­mo­tional ac­tiv­i­ties, Ham­burg’s In­ter­na­tional Maritime Mu­seum is dis­play­ing around 120 items that rep­re­sent the Maritime Silk Road from the 13th to 17 th cen­turies. Guang­dong Mu­seum is sup­port­ing the ex­hi­bi­tion. “His­tor­i­cally, China and Europe were closely linked by trade ac­tiv­i­ties and, nowa­days, China’s Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive has in­jected huge dy­nam­ics for both the Euro­pean Union and China,” said Shen.

“The ports in Guang­dong played a large role in mak­ing the Maritime Silk Road pros­per­ous in an­cient times and, now, we are de­ter­mined to do an even bet­ter job in pro­mot­ing the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive.”

At the fo­rum, Yang Yanyi, head of China’s Mis­sion to the EU, lauded Guang­dong prov­ince for trav­el­ing to the heart of Europe to seek co­op­er­a­tion and show­case the prov­ince’s “unique role” in pro­mot­ing the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive.

“In­deed, this event has spo­ken vol­umes about open­ness and in­clu­sive­ness and the mir­a­cle of Guang­dong, the most eco­nom­i­cally de­vel­oped prov­ince in China. It has show­cased the ben­e­fits to other parts of China and the rest of the world,” said Yang.

Ist­van Ujhe­lyi, vice-chair of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment’s Trans­port and Tourism Com­mit­tee, said he be­lieves the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive will shape the next decade and be one of the world’s ma­jor ini­tia­tives.

“This is a com­pletely new par­a­digm that calls on the coun­tries of the world for a com­mon dream: devel­op­ment and peace,” said Ujhe­lyi, who is also chair­man of the EU-China Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive Com­mit­tee, which helped or­ga­nize Mon­day’s event along with China’s Mis­sion to the EU.

“So, coun­tries in Europe and China should cap­i­tal­ize on po­ten­tials … that can turn into a key driver to achieve so­cioe­co­nomic progress,” said Ujhe­lyi.

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