Innovation for Mutual Growth and Cooperation for a Win-win Situation
By Ambassador Chen Xu at the forum of "Knowledge Economy:
New Momentum in EU-China Cooperation"
The Hague, 9 November 2013
Dear Dr. Wu Shufan, Mr. Roelof Eleveld, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
It is my great pleasure to attend this important forum focused on knowledge economy a new momentum in EU-China cooperation. As we know, the population in EU and China makes up one fourth of the global population, and EU-China economy accounts for one third of the global one. EU and China established comprehensive strategic partnership in 2003. This important and creative decision lays foundation not only for development of our mutual relation in the past 10 years but also for the enhancement of our future cooperation.
The development of EU-China relation is worth celebrating. EU has been China's biggest trade partner for 9 years in succession while China has been EU's second largest for the past 10 years. Daily transactions nowadays between the two sides reach 1.5 billion USD. The Dutch-Chinese bilateral trade is one of the major pillars. For the 10 successive years, the Netherlands has been China's second largest trade partner among the EU members. Similar impressive figures can also be cited from the EU-China cooperation in areas of education, culture, science and technology, etc.
Of course, the EU-China relation is not always in ideal situation. We did not see eye to eye sometimes on some issues. But fortunately those differences have not become the main stream of our relation. Both of us are ready and willing to enhance innovation-oriented cooperation to achieve a win-win situation. This is not only in conformity with our vital and long-term interests, but also promotes the development of the world economy.
EU and China are so different in demands but at the same time there is a strong complementarity between us. In March 2010, EU launched "Europe 2020 Strategy", with a view to achieve "a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth" and to deliver high levels of employment, improve productivity, and increase social cohesion. It is fair to say that EU is now in transition towards knowledge economy.
China is now able to provide its 1.3 billion people with basic food and clothing thanks to three decades of high speed development. However, there is still a long way to go before we enter a well-off and urbanized society, which is the road Europe walked through decades ago. China's growth in the past was mainly driven by key factors of land, resources and labor, and this model can no longer be sustained. There is an urgent need to restructure and upgrade China's industry, and to improve the quality of its economy through knowledge and innovation so as to embark on a sustainable development road. In this sense, therefore, we are also in a transition period. The guiding idea of China's 12th Five-year Plan for the National Economic and Social Development is "to further conduct reform and opening to the world by taking scientific development as the major theme and speed transition of economic growth pattern as the key route". The 3rd plenary session of the 18th congress the Chinese Communist Party is in session in Beijing, with a view to stimulate economic and social reform, to inject a new vigor to build a harmonious and innovative society and to enhance international cooperation. A couple of days ago, some Dutch friends who are familiar to China's affairs told me that there would be more and better business opportunities for Dutch people in China in the days to come. I believe this observation applies also to other parts of Europe.
On 14 February 2012, the 14th EU-China Summit was held in Beijing. Among the 31 items in its press release, 5 directly relate to our mutual cooperation in science, technology and innovation. At the 15th Summit in Brussels on 20 September of the same year, leaders of both sides signed "Joint Declaration on the European Union-China Innovation Cooperation Dialogue". The 16th meeting will be held soon in Beijing. Detailed discussions will be conducted on collaboration on issues of innovation, urbanization, green growth, etc. All these developments demonstrate that to cooperate in a more extensive manner and bear in mind our demands respectively has become a consensus and common target for us all.
The Sino-Dutch relation is a good example. Previous initiatives such as "Program Strategic Scientific Alliances" and "Joint Scientific Thematic Program" have effectively stimulated extensive and self-financing cooperative activities between relevant institutions from both sides. In Technology University of Delft, I listened with strong interest to President Dirk Jan van den Burg on the university's endeavor to launch joint research centres with partner institutions in China in recent years. In TNO, I explored with President Jan Mengelers on how to integrate the Dutch innovation priorities into the development of smart cities in China. At this forum today, we will hear presentations on how cooperation between South Holland, Pudong of Shanghai and Hebei Province is conducted, on how the Belgium-China technology centre is being managed, etc. From these cases, we will learn that academic cooperation between us has being expanded to enterprises for innovation cooperation. I am really encouraged by the momentum in this respect. I am sure your insights today will further boost this trend of innovation for mutual growth and cooperation for a win-win situation.
"Europe 2020 Strategy" represents EU's ambition and expectation. EU's GDP for 2012 is 165.66 trillion USD. China has developed rapidly through reform over the years. China's GDP is increased from 14.098 trillion USD in 2003 to 82.209 trillion USD in 2012. We have every reason to believe that China will experience another decade of steady development through further reform and with the people's hard efforts. The potential for mutually beneficial cooperation between EU and China needs to be further tapped. As long as we seize opportunities derived from our transition periods and combine European technologies with China's market, we will do a good job.
Nowadays, you will see more and more Chinese people in streets of Europe. Many of them are students and professionals. I wish to thank Association of Dutch Chinese Scholars and Engineers for organizing this forum in the name of Federation of Chinese Professional Associations in Europe. Chinese professionals in Europe have played an important and indispensable role to promote EU-China innovation cooperation. I strongly believe you will make further contribution in this respect.
I wish the forum a great success! Thank you!
of the People's Republic of China in the Kingdom of the Netherlands All
Add: Willem Lodewijklaan 10, 2517 JT Den Haag Tel: 0031-70-3065061