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Wang Yi: China and the EU Are Partners, Not Rivals

On the evening of December 16, 2019 local time, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi delivered a speech at the "Sixty-Minute Briefing" Event of the European Policy Center.

Wang Yi said, in recent years, we have heard an argument suggesting that China has become a rival of Europe in the economic field and should be subjected to all sorts of restrictions. Although not the mainstream view, we must raise our vigilance and not allow it to go unchecked. In fact, any cool-headed person with an objective view will see that, for China and the EU, cooperation far outweighs competition, and our areas of consensus far exceed differences. We are partners, not rivals.

Wang Yi expressed, over the years, Europe has benefited tremendously from cooperation with China. Between 2001 and 2018, the EU's exports to China grew by 14.7 per cent on average each year, more than twice the EU's average export growth, supporting about four million local jobs. Investment of Chinese companies in the EU has also been growing. As of the end of 2017, Chinese companies have set up over 2,900 ventures in EU countries through direct investment, creating 176,000 jobs for the local people. Acquisition of Volvo by China's automaker Geely injected new energy to the Volvo factory in Ghent, Belgium, retaining and creating over 6,000 jobs. China is now the most profitable market for European companies. As many as 7 million cars, or nearly a quarter of all automobiles sold in China, are produced by European auto-makers. Even with rising trade friction between China and the US and mounting downward pressure on the global economy, economic and trade cooperation between China and the EU has bucked the trend and kept growing. In the first 11 months of this year, trade between China and the EU was estimated to grow by 7.7 per cent from last year. From January to July, EU investment in China was up by 18.3 per cent year on year. Sixty percent of EU companies regard China as a leading destination of investment. I would also like to underscore today that even with various factors at play, China, as a major developing country with 1.4 billion people, a 900-million-strong labor force and 120 million market entities, has solid internal growth momentum, great resilience and enormous economic potential. China is bound to offer a new round of cooperation opportunities and share the development dividend with countries in Europe.

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