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英语杂志原文:Ray of Hope amid Grim Goings on

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2021年10月14日

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By ZHANG MING

THE last year was a special one for all. The outbreak and global spread of the novel coronavirus have taken a heavy toll on the global industrial and supply chains. The world economy is experiencing the most severe recession since the 1930s. It is a challenge for all countries to get the world economy back on track.

On the bright side, China-European Union economic and trade relations have demonstrated their resilience during the crisis. From January to November, bilateral trade approached US $620 billion, up 4.7 percent year-on-year. Chinas exports to the EU and the EUs exports to China are both on the rise. China is now the EUs largest trading partner. President of European Union Chamber of Commerce in China Joerg Wuttke recently said that with the resumption of Chinas economic activities, many EU companies in China have seen double-digit growth, and it is with the help of the Chinese market that some companies have made profits in the region.

The resilience of China-EU economic and trade relations, first and foremost, comes from the win-win nature of ChinaEU cooperation and the good communication between the two sides. In 2020, we held the China-Germany-EU video summit, the 22nd China-EU Summit and other highlevel events. We launched the High-Level Dialogue on the Environment and Climate Change and the High-Level Digital Cooperation Dialogue. The China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership has gained new political momentum. We formally signed the geographical indications agreement. Xixia mushrooms, Yingde black tea, Bavarian beer, Parma ham and other iconic agri-food products will be better protected and promoted in each others market. China-EU trade will be brought to a higher level. The negotiation on the China-EU investment agreement, closely watched by many, has made major progress. This has made us hopeful of good news at an early date.

The resilience of China-EU economic and trade relations also comes as a result of Chinas continued commitment to reform and opening-up. In 2020, Chinas Foreign Investment Law came into force. The number of items on the foreign direct investment negative list has been reduced to 33. Chinas door has opened even wider in sectors that interest the EU, such as finance, infrastructure, environmental protection, and automobile manufacturing. The latest World Bank report elevated Chinas global ranking to 31st in ease of doing business, and recognized Chinas strong commitment to and effective delivery of its reform agenda, active participation of the private sector and easy access to digital technologies.

The resilience of China-EU economic and trade relations is anchored in Chinas commitment to multilateralism and free trade. In November 2020, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement was signed. The worlds largest free trade agreement is taking shape, covering 30 percent of the global population and 29 percent of the global GDP. China will also favorably consider joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. A prosperous and open Asia-Pacific will open up new horizons with greater opportunities for China-EU economic and trade cooperation.

China and the EU, having withstood the test of the COVID-19 pandemic, are embracing new opportunities in economic and trade cooperation. The EU has rolled out a historic recovery plan, featuring green and digital transitions at a faster pace. China has made extraordinary efforts to contain the virus and restore the economy. Chinas positive growth is bringing hopes and driving forces for the global recovery.

China recently adopted the proposals for the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) and the long-range objectives through 2035.These indicate it will step up efforts to foster a new development paradigm with domestic circulation as the mainstay, and the domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other. It must be emphasized that China is promoting dual circulations, not just domestic circulation, still less a circulation behind closed doors. Despite the drastic changes in the world, Chinas fundamental policy of opening-up remains unchanged. In the coming decade, China is expected to con- tinue to contribute about 30 percent of global growth. Chinas imports over that period are estimated at US $22 trillion. By 2035, China is expected to double its per capita income or total GDP. China is not only a world factory, but also the largest market in the world.

To translate opportunities into concrete results, market players need to act proactively and creatively. And it is up to governments to foster a fair, just and non-discriminatory market environment. We are of the view that China and the EU are each others opportunity and partner. What matters most is for the two sides to deliver on the commitment to mutual benefit, openness, cooperation, multilateralism, and free trade, and not to turn business issues into politics. This should be the spirit that guides our frank and fruitful discussions.

Likewise, I hope that the EU partners will give heed to business voices from both sides as well. There is a widely shared concern among Chinese companies operating in the EU that in recent years, especially during the pandemic, the EU business environment has become less friendly, adding uncertainties to their businesses here. In the first three quarters of 2020, Chinese investment in the EU dropped by 26.1 percent from the previous year, which could not be more telling. Over the past year, most Chinese companies in Europe have overcome difficulties brought about by the pandemic, and contributed a lot to promote China-EU relations and the economic and trade cooperation.

Although most of the European countries are experiencing temporary difficulties due to the pandemic, the economy in Europe remains robust, the market is still vast, and there is still great potential for China-EU trade and economic cooperation. As Chinese President Xi Jinping said at the G20 Summit, when the pandemic is over, our world will emerge even stronger. We have good reasons to be optimistic about the prospects of ChinaEU economic and trade cooperation, which with joint efforts can help to deliver the future we all want.

(Source: China Daily)

ZHANG MING is the ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary and head of the Chinese Mission to the European Union.

以上英语杂志原文:Ray of Hope amid Grim Goings on的内容,节选自《chinatoday》杂志!


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