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Work Together in the Process of China's Opening-up - Vice President of the EUCCC

By 李方旺ICHONGQING|Nov 07,2021

Chongqing–”As a General base, opportunities are still here. You still have a huge number of people willing to increase their income and improve in every sector of daily life. Our message is, let’s go ahead together in the process of opening up and allowing foreign companies to settle down in this country,” said Mr. Massimo Bagnasco, vice president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China (EUCCC). He made these comments during an iChongqing interview after the Position Paper 2021/2022 launched in Chongqing on the 3rd of November.

Mr. Massimo Bagnasco, vice president of European Chamber of Commerce in China(Photo provided to iChongqing)

The position paper is seen as EUCCC’s most important publication and the cornerstone of its annual advocacy plan. Compiled by its 35 working groups and sub-working groups over a six-month period, the 930 constructive recommendations contained in the Position Paper illustrate the depth of the challenges European companies face in China and their commitment to improving the business environment. According to Massimo, about 10% of the recommendations are implemented each year.

European Business in China-Position Paper 2021/2022 Launch (Photo provided to iChongqing)

When it comes to the most significant difference between this year’s position paper and last year’s, Massimo marks that this year is special as it’s the 20th anniversary of both EUCCC and China’s accession to the World Trade Organization(WTO). Moreover, IMF data has shown that China contributes over 20% to the world economy, driving global economic growth in the post-pandemic era. Despite the pandemic shock, China’s service trade hit $661.7 billion in 2020, ranking second in the world. “It strengthens our confidence to keep engaging with the Chinese economy where the market is of great potential,” said Massimo.

As China aims for carbon neutrality by 2060, which is surely not an easy task, the governments and businesses have made significant strides in recent years in its low-carbon transition, where Mr. Massimo or EUCCC sees great opportunities. Massimo told iChongqing that there could be deep and close cooperation between Europe and China since Europe had experienced this problem before and learned a lot from the mistakes. “If we work together, we can be faster, more efficient, and effective.” In terms of attracting foreign companies in line with sustainable development, China must provide clean energy and infrastructure to help them reduce carbon footprint, which is becoming a worldwide criterion to measure whether a firm is green or not. Also, potentially and most likely, the carbon tax will come. As a result, the clean energy and eco-friendly infrastructure, as Massimo foresees, will be the real game-changer, much more attractive than subsidies.

However, EUCCC concerns the road for European businesses in China will be bumpy as the “dual circulation” strategy may see an inward economic shift. Understandably, China highlights “internal circulation” against the backdrop that the COVID-19 pandemic still sends shudders across the world, and the economic outlook outside China does not look particularly optimistic at the moment. In fact, China still needs to work with the world to strengthen its financial resilience. Opening-up and multilateralism remain unchanged. But how the foreign business community engages with the Chinese economy requires adjustment.

“When you have a mixture of people willing to do something, you can reach a really remarkable result. So we are here to contribute, give our support and work together”, said Massimo at the end of the interview, “EUCCC, as a European ambassador for commerce in China, we also wish China could succeed at the highest level.”

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