Chongqing - Jan Hoogmartens, Belgian Ambassador to China, paid an official visit to Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality between February 22-25. During his visit, China (Chongqing)-Belgium Forum on Trade and Economic Cooperation and the cooperation symposium “Gather in Yuzhong for Win-Win Cooperation” took place in the city downtown.
In recent years, relations between China and Belgium have continued to develop based on mutual respect and beneficial cooperation, achieving impressive results in the process. For instance, Chongqing and Antwerp established a sister-city relationship in 2011 during a trade delegation visit led by Crown Prince Philippe of Belgium, opening a new chapter in friendly exchange and cooperation.
The ambassador commented on the marked resemblance shared between Chongqing and Belgium, especially in the case of Antwerp. “Whereas Belgium is a gateway to the European Union as a logistics and distribution hub, and Brussels being capital of the European Union, Chongqing is also a gateway to western China.”
Several decades ago, the common potato became a “golden bridge” for cooperation between Belgium and Wuxi County in Chongqing, where the cultivation of this staple crop has long been famous. When this county began to experience problems with a plant disease known as late blight, researchers from Belgium came to help resolve the issue and also succeeded in reducing the use of pesticides, with clear benefits for the environment and people’s health.
In a meeting with the Administrative Committee of Liangjiang New Area, a letter of intent for cooperation in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals was signed between Antwerp University Science Park and Dadi (International) Life Science Park, marking a new consensus for exchange.
Jan Hoogmartens expressed his congratulations, saying, “Both parties are committed to exploring business opportunities and advancing the development of science.”
“Belgium is home to many innovative life science and biopharmaceutical companies that can collaborate in respiratory medicine, cell, gene therapy, and further areas.”
Following a media interview with iChongqing, Ambassador Hoogmartens visited the high-tech manufacturing base of SERES Automobile, where new energy vehicles are produced. When asked about the market growth of electric vehicles in Europe, he stated the sight of more new energy vehicles on the streets of Europe is a positive trend with substantial benefits for the environment, with Chinese manufacturers playing an important role, such as Geely factory in East Flanders for the production of batteries.
Additional highlights from the itinerary featured the world premiere of Belgian pianist and composer Peter Ritzen’s new symphony Love for China, performed live at the Guotai Arts Center, while time was allocated in the schedule to visit famous tourist sites such as the 18 Steps Traditional Style Scenic Area and Dazu Rock Carvings.
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