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Zhang Wei: Let’s Leverage the 16+1 Platform

Volume 4, 2017

Vice President of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade 

~ Warsaw, September 15

“Economic and trade ties between China and the CEE improved significantly in 2016. China’s trade volume with Europe was down by 3.3%, but its trade volume with CEE countries was up by 9.5%. There are also a growing number of large projects happening between China and CEE countries. For example, the Oriental Electric Company went to Bosnia to participate in a power plant project, and China Railway Company was engaged for a railway project in a CEE country. This is win-win development for both sides.

Over the past 20 years, Poland’s economy has been developing rapidly and it is currently the only country in the European Union with positive economic growth, which it has been maintaining very energetically. The trade volume between Poland and China accounts for one-third of China’s overall trade volume.

It’s projected that over the next five years, Poland's economic growth will be at 6%; China’s economy has also been developing very rapidly, with its GDP growth estimated at 5% over the next five years. There will also be an increasing number of Chinese tourists travelling overseas.

There is huge potential for collaboration between China and Poland in various areas, and I have a few suggestions to offer. First, we need to properly leverage the 16+1 platform. This will create more opportunities between China and CEE countries. The 16+1 cooperation projects, as well as other aviation and railroad projects, have been developing rapidly. There are more direct flights between China and CEE countries and the influence of 16+1 has been increasingly evident.

The China Council for Promotion of International Trade has worked closely with our counterparts in CEE countries in the hope that 16+1 can be put to better use so that more enterprises on both sides can enjoy more opportunities, support, and success in the future.

Second, we have to enhance our collaboration in terms of infrastructure development. CEE countries have a need to upgrade their infrastructure and to deepen their industrial reforms. China, since we began our Reform and Opening Up Policy around 30 years ago, has a lot of relevant experience.

We hope to host more forums or start more platforms with CEE countries so that the two sides can have further dialogue with each other. This can also help enable the joint promotion of training sessions, and we can do matchmaking work for relevant enterprises that will benefit both sides.

Third, we should try to import more from CEE countries. In China, many people look forward to quality products that I think we can import from CEE. The CEE countries have strong industries in certain areas, and China can import their goods such as dairy, meat, fruit, wine, medicine, mechanical products and products used in aviation.

In 2018 in Shanghai we are going to host the China Import Expo; I hope CEE can have a strong presence there so that Chinese people can get to know more about your products. Our Council for Promotion of International Trade will try to work together with similar organisations in this part of the world so that there can be more exchanges. For example, we can have many more jointly-promoted trainings and legal support advisory meetings. In the process of working with each other, we can also hear the questions and issues that occur on both sides, and resolve them in a way that helps everyone to better develop their business.”