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Entrepreneurs weighing up China-EU business prospect

By Tuo Yannan | China Daily Europe | Updated: 2015-09-20 12:13

As relationship is put to the triangle test, observers see bright prospects

China-European Union investment will grow rapidly over the next few years, top opinion leaders from the two sides said at the Sino-European Entrepreneurs Summit in Paris from Sept 7 to 9.

The EU and China are two of the world's biggest traders, and China is now the EU's second largest trading partner and the EU is China's biggest trading partner.

EU-China trade has risen greatly in recent years, and China is the EU's biggest source of imports by far, becoming one of the EU's fastest-growing export markets. The EU has also become China's biggest source of imports, and trade between the two is worth well over 1 billion euros ($1.13 billion) a day.

Long Yongtu, co-chairman of the Sino-European Entrepreneurs Summit and a former vice-minister of China's Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation, said that last year Chinese investment in the EU was worth 10 billion euros, compared with 6 billion euros the year before.

Long, responding to concerns that some European companies have expressed about whether such investment can be sustained, said China's economic fundamentals, which largely determine trends in overseas investment, are sound.

The economies of China and Europe are highly complementary, he said.

Jean-Pierre Raffarin, the former French prime minister and president of the foreign affairs and defense committee of the French Senate, said investment transcends the world of finance and creates common value through exchanges.

Communicating, exchanging and creating things together are the three sides of a triangle, he said, and a global society is based on mutual understanding, long-term thinking, value sharing, a lack of domination or hegemony, and respect for one another.

Raffarin said he is confident that Chinese investment in France will continue to grow rapidly. China has said it foresees its worldwide investment being worth as much as $500 billion, he said, and France can expect investment from China of at least $5 billion a year.

"I am pleased that during Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's visit to France (in June and July), we signed many cooperation agreements between China and European enterprises," he said, adding that "many existing European capital foundations already have Chinese partners, which helps Chinese companies and European companies enter each others' markets. We are developing in a positive way."

Antonio Hunter Chan, vice-chairman of King Wai Group Company Limited (Hong Kong), said entrepreneurs should cast their net wide to capture good business opportunities. Now is a good time to explore overseas market, he said.

"The world has changed. The old economic rules don't apply anymore."

Europe is full of business opportunities, he said. To stay competitive, business people need to adapt to the modern market economy, he said, adding that King Wai Group's philosophy is that "continuous evolution" makes businesses sustainable.

Raffarin said European business people need to pay close attention to China's Belt and Road Initiative, which presents new possibilities for collaboration.

Tang Shuyue contributed to the story.


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