By Deng Wentao，iChongqing News
iChongqing — Gerard Mestrallet, Executive Chairman of the Chongqing Mayor’s International Economic advisory council and Honorary Chairman of ENGIE, a natural gas distribution company, sat with media and discussed the potential of Chongqing’s future, September 27th, 2019.
Mestrallet has served on numerous CMIA councils over the years including the first and this year’s 14th annual meeting. “I’m very much impressed by the transformation of Chongqing,” Mestrallet said. “[In the last 14 years] Chongqing was able to modernize the traditional industries to be much more profitable and competitive and to create new modern industries. In that respect, Chongqing has become a very modern city,” he said elaborating that new efforts should be focused on transforming Chongqing into a regional financial center.
In his opinion, Chongqing is at the crossroads of the Belt and Road Initiative, the Yangtze River and numerous rail networks to Europe which serve as fertile soil to cultivate the city’s international logistics and trade hub and pioneer the opening-up of inland China by leveraging its favorable geographical location. “In the middle of trade frustrations, over the first half of this year, Chongqing’s international trade has increased by 16% despite the trade war. Trade with the EU has increased 22%,” he said.
When he tells friends and business partners about Chongqing, he usually starts by asking them, “What is the biggest municipality in the world?” “People usually do not know,” he admits but at a population of just over 30 million, “They should.”
“Chongqing is the biggest municipality in the world, and Chongqing’s development should not be focused on one sector.” Chongqing must grow across all industries including intelligence, big data, AI, finance and should aim to make Chongqing inland a hub of transportation, increasing the cities import/exports to the west and the east.
Mestrallet admits that he has an affinity for the Chongqing, liking his fair share of spicy food, the scenery, people, culture and claims that the city has only become nicer to visit over the years. “The city used to be grey 15 years ago, now the city is green,” he said, evidence of a perpetually modernizing Chongqing, speaking to the city’s ability to continue its stride toward sustainability. Many members of the council have also proposed innovations, including sustainability and more environmentally oriented practices. “I propose to transform Chongqing to become a hub of green transportation” to electrify the transportation and reduce emissions.
In the 70 years since the founding of the People’s Republic of China the country has made great efforts to modernize, “[The 70thAnniversary] is a major event, today China plays an essential role in [regional] stability. I wish the people of China and its government all the best, more prosperity, more stability, and perhaps most important for China and all the world, peace.”
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