Visiting Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping urged closer cooperation between China and Belgium during a speech Friday at the China-Belgium Economic and Trade Forum.
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping (1st L) delivers a speech at the opening ceremony of the China-Belgium Economic and Trade Forum in Brussels, capital of Belgium, on Oct. 9, 2009. [Lan Hongguang/Xinhua]
Xi said the development of cooperation between China and Belgium has brought tangible benefits to the two countries.
Despite the impact of the global financial crisis, bilateral trade volume rose 14.4 percent to 20.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2008, 1,000 times as much 38 years ago when diplomatic relations were established, he said.
The vice president advanced a three-point proposal to further strengthen bilateral cooperation.
First, it is necessary and possible for the two sides to further tap their cooperation potential in order to promote economic and trade efforts.
Mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Belgium, the world's second largest trader and eighth largest trader respectively, enjoys potential because bilateral trade accounts for a relatively small proportion of each country's total foreign trade volume, he said.
China and Belgium, Xi said, should make joint efforts to expand the scale of bilateral trade and investment. They also should consolidate their traditional cooperation in such sectors as electromechanical manufacturing, shipping, telecommunication and textiles, he said.
In addition, the two countries should expand cooperation in biotech, new energy, microelectronics and environmental protection, Xi said.
The vice-president said China welcomes more Belgian companies to invest in the Chinese market, adding that he believes the visit of the Chinese trade mission will bring more Chinese enterprises to Belgium for cooperation and investment.
Second, China and Belgium should enhance exchanges and cooperation on technology and enrich the content of their reciprocal cooperation.
Belgium has advanced technologies, while China has a big market and great potential for development. China will continue introducing advanced foreign technology, management experience and personnel with special capabilities as well as promoting self-reliance on technological innovation, Xi said.
The two countries have the potential to enlarge technology cooperation and personnel exchanges in various sectors, including manufacturing, finance, nuclear energy, tourism, port and corporation management, Xi said.
Belgian companies could also strengthen their cooperation with their Chinese counterparts to participate in development projects in western, northeastern and central China and in the process of upgrading China's industrial structure, Xi said.
Third, the two countries should also continue improving services and management in a bid to form a better environment for trade and investment.
China and Belgium should make a good use of their cooperation mechanisms, including a joint committee for economy and trade and the Chinese-Belgian investment fund, he said.
They also should try to eliminate trade and investment barriers, provide conveniences for each other's companies in terms of visas and working licenses, improve the efficiency of the investment fund between the two countries and encourage companies to establish long-term and stable cooperation, Xi said.
The two governments also should enhance administrative surveillance and management by protecting intellectual property rights and improving market order to provide a good environment for each other's companies, Xi said.
During the speech, Xi also reviewed the rapid development of bilateral ties between China and the European Union (EU).
Further development of China-EU relations is faced with new challenges as well as opportunities in the face of a number of international issues, Xi said. Those issues, he said, include the global financial crisis, world economic development, climate change, food and energy security, the Doha round of trade talks, and international financial structure reforms.
"I believe that the perspective of the mutual benefit cooperation between China and the EU has a better future with the joint efforts of the two sides," Xi said.
Xi also reviewed the great achievements China has made in the 60 years since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.
Xi stressed that there still is a long way to go for China to achieve a more prosperous society.
As a peace-loving country, Xi said, China will always continue efforts to cooperate with world countries based on the five principles of peaceful coexistence. He said China also would actively help solve regional and international hot issues and work together with the international community for a peaceful and harmonious world.
Under the current situation, China will continue to cooperate with Belgium and other EU members to promote reforms of the international financial system, to enhance international financial surveillance, to prevent further spread of the financial crisis and to stem the torrent of all kinds of trade and investment protectionism.
Xi arrived in Brussels Wednesday for an official visit to Belgium, the first leg of his five-nation European tour. He will also visit Germany, Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania.