'Energy efficiency will ease global fears over supply'

By Sun Shangwu (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-09-11 08:47
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HELSINKI: China's double-digit growth will not threaten global energy supply if the country improves energy efficiency and adopts new technology, a leading Chinese energy figure said yesterday.

China's energy consumption efficiency is only one fourth of Japan, and about 50 per cent of the US, said Fu Chengyu, president of China's National Offshore Oil Corporation, which is one of the three major oil producers in China.

"There is too much waste now," Fu said at the opening session of the Asia Europe Business Forum, which opened yesterday in Helsinki in parallel with the sixth Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM 6).

The Chinese Government has drafted policies to punish energy wasters, and also to encourage the development of renewable energy, according to Fu.

The policy has created opportunity for European companies to invest in developing new technologies in China, he said.

"If China can achieve efficiency like Japan and the US, we can keep the same economic growth rate while consuming the same amount of energy for the next 10 years," said Fu.

China's economic performance has been spectacular over the past 25 years, averaging an annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 9.6 per cent. And the growth rate was 10.9 per cent in the first half of this year.

China exported more oil than it imported until 1993, when imports began to surge. It imported 118 million tons of oil last year.

The two-day Asia-Europe Business Forum was held with the main themes of globalization, competitiveness and energy. The forum is a meeting of business leaders aimed at strengthening economic co-operation between the business sectors of Asia and Europe.

Fu appealed for governments and companies to reduce protectionism in the process of globalization so as to increase competitiveness of companies.

"Global competitiveness can only be achieved through global competition, not by protectionism," he said.

"Fast and quality growth of the Chinese economy, as well as its contribution to the global economy, is in large part attributed to the openness of the Chinese market, which is driven by globalization."

He called for all companies to join forces to promote free trade and anti-protectionism, and promote sustainable economic growth.

Finnish President Tarja Halonen told the forum that economy has always been an important part of ASEM co-operation.

"Trade and economic co-operation between Asia and Europe is significant for both continents; we are positively economically dependent on one another," she said.

Christoffer Taxell, chairman of the forum, said that the forum would produce recommendations for the ASEM process and contribute to the strengthening of Asia-Europe economic relations.

"In addition to this, the forum offers a unique occasion for business leaders of ASEM countries to interact with each other," he noted.

(China Daily 09/11/2006 page2)