Business / Economy

Annual dialogues to spur trade with Belgium

By Fu Jing in Brussels (China Daily) Updated: 2012-10-16 09:59

China and Belgium have agreed to organize annual dialogues to promote investments, trade and industrial zones, said a Chinese economic diplomat.

A Chinese delegation of 12 officials from the Ministry of Commerce and representatives of provincial economic and industrial development zones met their Belgian counterparts on Friday.

The meeting came on the heels of visits to Belgium by Premier Wen Jiabao in September and Vice-premier Li Keqiang in May. The two leaders agreed to make relations between Belgium and China an example of what can be formed between other members of the European Union and Beijing.

"We have achieved many consensuses," an official from the delegation who asked to not be named, said on Monday.

The official said the countries have adopted policies meant to attract foreign investment, promote trade and develop industrial and economic zones.

"Both governments have agreed to organize these dialogues every year," the official said.

Chinese Ambassador to Belgium Liao Liqiang, who also attended the meeting, said the use of annual dialogues to promote trade and economic development is a specific and timely way to act on the consensus that has been reached among Chinese and Belgian leaders.

"China and Belgium have both realized the greater strategic importance of developing relations in each sector," Liao said.

Liao said China is prepared to achieve breakthroughs in economics and trade, as well as in cultural and people-to-people exchanges in "the gateway to Europe".

Belgian officials, for their part, are putting a priority on attracting Chinese investors, tourists and students.

They have said Chinese investors can cooperate with Belgian chemical, information and communication, aerospace, automotive, renewable energy and shipping companies.

Bernard Dewit, chairman of the Belgian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, said China's investments in Belgium have changed greatly over the past decade.

Both federal and regional authorities and the private sector are showing particular interest in the country and are trying to encourage more Chinese to become investors or partners, Dewit said.

Dewit said Chinese investors should consider investing in the shipping and the intellectual property industries.

At the same time, Dewit said both China and Belgium should be patient in their attempts to attract investment.

"The exchange is more frequent than before," Dewit said. "But we have to be careful that some people will be thinking that we will see hundreds of thousands of Chinese companies coming at once to Europe and Belgium."

He said Belgium is trying to attract more Chinese companies.

The Walloon government, the branch of the country's predominantly French-speaking Walloon Region, is setting up a China Welcome Office in Mons and the Flemish government, which oversees another region of the country, is opening business centers in Antwerp and Limburg.

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