EU program to 'Understand China' better

By Ke Wang
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, July 6, 2011
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As China has become one of the largest economies in the world, Europe needs to understand it to stay on par, a European think tank representative said on July 5 at the EU embassy in Beijing.

"A better knowledge and greater understanding of China are crucial to increasing Europe's competitiveness and enhancing Europeans' capacity to take advantage of the potential of its market," Shada Islam, head of the Asia Program under Friends of Europe, told "That's the reason why we launched the 'Understanding China' program.'"

The program, co-funded by the European Commission and implemented by EuroChambers and Friends of Europe, seeks to improve the knowledge of China in European businesses, especially with small and medium enterprises.

"China now represents a huge economic potential, but also poses a number of challenges for EU businesses trying to enter the market," Islam said.

She believed that despite a closer Sino-EU relationship, differences between the two sides remain "awkward, uncertain and subject to sudden ups and downs".

"In the past 25 years, Beijing and Brussels went through a short but intense honeymoon period in 2004, but issues over Tibet and human rights still need to be discussed," she said.

However, she thought that global problems like climate change, energy and food security cannot be tackled without consulting and cooperating with China.

"I believe that at the start of the second decade of 21st century, Europe and China should discard past cliches and take a fresh look at each other," Islam said.

The program will provide strongly targeted and specialised training for business representatives. Its "train-the-trainers" approach will ensure that its impact is as expansive as possible, and companies will benefit from higher quality services and up-to-date information from their business organizations, Islam said.

"We will also encourage policy dialogue between key stakeholders from business, academia and politics," she said. "It is important to foster an ongoing debate and a wide and varied exchange of views and experience."

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