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Rosy prospects ahead for China-CEEC economic ties

date:2021-06-17 14:55

HANGZHOU-Poland's Leon Meredyk spoke in fluent Mandarin as he introduced dairy products from his country at the second China-CEEC Expo& International Consumer Goods Fair in Ningbo, Zhejiang province.

"We attach great importance to the Chinese market as it has great potential," said Meredyk, business development manager of Vici Group, a Polish company that began exporting products to China in 2013.

Themed "Fostering a New Development Paradigm, Sharing a Win-Win Opportunity," the expo opened on Tuesday, attracting some 300 enterprises from Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs) and more than 7,000 buyers.

Joint efforts to boost trade and strengthen cooperation in emerging industries between China and the CEECs are high on the agenda at the expo, which is expected to provide a variety of choices for specialty products from the CEECs for Chinese customers, and offer various platforms for exchanging views.

Bucking a global downturn, trade between China and the CEECs jumped 50.2 percent year-on-year to $30.13 billion in the first quarter, said the Ministry of Commerce.

In 2020, trade in goods between China and the CEECs exceeded $100 billion for the first time. In the first quarter this year, China imported $8.17 billion worth of goods from these countries, a year-on-year jump of 44.7 percent.

The expo will help the Chinese market learn more about commodities from the CEECs, expand CEEC exports to China and help all parties respond to the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic while promoting economic recovery.

Over the past few years, China has also seen accelerated trade cooperation with the CEECs. Trade between the two sides grew at an average pace of 8 percent between 2012 and 2020, more than twice the growth of China-EU trade over the same period.

Industrial chains of the two sides are complementary, which leads to positive prospects, said Ren Hongbin, assistant minister of commerce.

China has become Hungary's most important trade partner outside the European Union (EU), said Laszlo Balogh, deputy state secretary of Hungary's Ministry of Finance. In 2020, bilateral trade between the two countries rose 22 percent year-on-year to $11 billion.

The expo, which concludes on Friday, will become another trade driver between China and the CEECs. Featuring products such as helicopters, light aircraft, yachts as well as agricultural products, high-end kitchen appliances and skin care brands from the CEECs, it will provide a platform to promote more balanced trade.

China will take multiple measures, including facilitating Customs clearance, as part of efforts to realize the promise of importing goods worth $170 billion from the CEECs over the next five years, said Wang Bingnan, vice-minister of commerce.

Besides optimizing trade cooperation with the CEECs, China is proactively expanding cooperation to new areas, including digital, health and green sectors, which will also contribute to the global economic recovery, according to MOC officials.

During the expo, a mechanism for China-CEEC e-commerce cooperation and dialogue was launched as a gesture that the two sides will share joint achievements in talent cultivation and construction of logistics infrastructure, and introduce more commodities from the CEECs to China's market through e-commerce platforms.

A China-CEEC alliance in the public health industry has also been established.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said in an interview with Xinhua News Agency earlier this year:"Most of the people here in this country are vaccinated, with Sinopharm vaccines from China. I think there is not such a country in Europe in which you can find that level of trust (for the Chinese vaccines) that you see here in Belgrade and Serbia."

Hungary, the first EU member state to buy and authorize the use of Chinese vaccines, expects further technical cooperation with China. Peter Szijjarto, Hungary's minister of foreign affairs and trade, said he is thankful for the timely and advance delivery of the vaccines, which helped protect the lives of Hungarians.

On June 2, China and 15 CEECs jointly made an announcement to strengthen cooperation in forestry to further boost the sector. Guan Zhi'ou, director of the National Forestry and Grassland Administration, deemed it an inevitable choice to achieve sustainable development.

"We should make full use of the expo to carry out in-depth exchanges and achieve more win-win outcomes so as to inject new impetus to practical cooperation between China and the CEECs," said Vice-Minister of Commerce Wang.

(News from Zhejiang, China)

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