Chinese and Belgian companies joined forces on Friday to fight the economic crisis through the creation of more business opportunities.
Business people from China and Belgium have come face to face in Brussels to meet, talk and explore the potential for cooperation.
Li Xiaorong, an overseas Chinese working for a Belgian pharmaceutical company, came looking for a Chinese partner who may be interested in her company's new products for wound healing.
"It is desirable for Chinese companies to come here for direct talks. We are a high-tech but medium-sized company. Sometimes it is difficult and simply expensive for us to establish contacts in China by going there," she said in Chinese.
Li said her company regarded China as a market with huge potential, so she was appointed the manager for business in China because of her ethnic background.
Looking through a name list of Chinese participants, Li found an interesting target, a Beijing hospital. Talks went well and they agreed to go into details later on.
The match-making event was part of the Belgium-China Economic and Trade Forum, which was held in Brussels Friday and brought together more than 300 people from Chinese and Belgian companies.
The forum was witnessed by visiting Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, who called for closer cooperation between China and Belgium in his opening address.
Xi said the development of cooperation between China and Belgium had 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 as 38 years ago when diplomatic relations were established, he said.
Belgium is now China's seventh largest trading partner and ninth largest source of foreign investment within the European Union.
Since the economies of the two countries are highly complementary, huge potential remains to be exploited.
The two countries had the potential to enlarge technology cooperation and personnel exchanges in various sectors, including manufacturing, finance, nuclear energy, tourism, port and corporation management, said Xi, who arrived here Wednesday for an official visit to Belgium, the first leg of his five-nation European tour.
Following the financial crisis, China has sent several business delegations to European countries for the promotion of trade and investment in a time of economic downturn, but it was the first time in Belgium.
Bernard Dewit, chairman of Belgian Chinese Chamber of Commerce, said the move was a gesture of the Chinese government to join hands with Belgium against the economic crisis.
"Such a forum with the coming of so many Chinese companies is a unique opportunity for Belgian companies to meet Chinese companies at the highest level," he said.
"It is not by working each in our corner that we will be able to overcome this economic crisis," he added.
Belgian Foreign Minister Yves Leterme said the Chinese business delegation came to his country at a very good time, when the financial crisis was yet to end and an economic recovery remained fragile.
He praised China's role in supporting the global economy, in particular in confidence building.
"Your country (China) plays a key role in this recovery and the recovery of the world economy," Leterme said. "This is due to your wise banking, your robust government spending and stimulation of internal demand."
"We should not underestimate the vital 'commodity' China has exported since the start of the crisis. That commodity is called confidence, the most precious thing," he added.
During a Europe tour early this year, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao expressed optimism about China's growth and called for confidence in overcoming the financial crisis.
The upbeat note was in contrast to the overwhelming pessimism at that time when the world economy was sliding and Wen's tour was dubbed by media as a "trip of confidence."