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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Promoting Development Under the 16+1 Framework

~CEIBS Warsaw Forum

H.E. Xu Jian is Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Poland. This is a translated and edited version of the opening address he gave at CEIBS 1st China-CEE Development Forum in Warsaw on September 15, 2017.

“It’s my great honour to be here at this forum. CEIBS is a very famous international business school and it’s now co-hosting the first China-CEE Development Forum 2017. This gives Poland a very important status in its collaboration with China and Europe.

Poland plays a very important role in this. Here at the forum we have politicians, business people, academics and educators. I think all our discussions will be very important in further developing the relationship between China and Europe. The 16+1 Conference was held here in Warsaw a few years ago; the 16+1 formula has helped to promote China’s relationship with Europe. The Belt and Road Initiative was put forward by President Xi Jinping and all our European partners have been very active in supporting it.

With 16+1 and the Belt and Road Initiative, China and European countries have enjoyed fruitful collaborations over the past few years. First of all, on a very high level, there have been many exchange visits. This has enabled China’s relationship with the Central and Eastern European countries to develop quite quickly.

President Xi Jinping made five foreign visits in 2016, two of which were to CEE countries. Officials from Poland, the Czech Republic and Serbia went to China in May to attend the Belt and Road summit, and they discussed many important issues with Chinese officials. A high level minister from China also visited countries like Latvia very recently.

The 16+1 formula has also furthered development of CEE’s collaboration with China. Many MOUs and agreements have been signed and they have all contributed to the outline for the further development of China’s collaboration with CEE.

Despite the slow pace of economic recovery in the Eurozone, China’s economic and trade ties with the CEE countries has increased from around US$ 40 billion to around US$ 50 billion. Poland has been exporting pork, fruits and vegetables to China and bilateral trade has been increasing between the two countries.

Chinese enterprises have invested over US$8 billion in CEE countries in various ways. Huawei, Wenhua and other Chinese enterprises have been developing smoothly in CEE countries, while Polish enterprises have invested over US$1.2 billion in China.

Chinese enterprises have been helping CEE cities to develop infrastructure and power station projects as well as railroads. Since 2011, the Chinese and CEE national railroads and aviation routes have been increasing, and there are now more direct flights between China and CEE countries. The New Silk Road Fund and the Sino-CEE Fund and other financing vehicles have opened. China has given Pandas as well as financing to CEE countries. In 2011, there was nearly US$3 billion worth of loans issued to CEE countries.

In addition, tourism and people-to-people exchanges have picked up. Increasing numbers of Chinese tourists are travelling to CEE countries. Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovenia are among the top five destinations for Chinese tourists. Poland has set up a tourism office in China. There are currently 29 Confucius Institutes in CEE countries which can serve more than 70 million students. There have been nearly 10,000 exchange students studying between the two countries. There have also been an increasing number of exchanges on the civil level, including cultural and media exchanges between China and CEE countries.

Ladies and gentlemen China and the CEE countries have a history of friendly ties, and now we are both on the development path. China and the CEE countries also have geographical advantages.

Now that the CEE countries have signed the Belt and Road Cooperation agreement with China, the Sino and CEE relationship enjoys many more advantages. This year, the China-CEE Cooperation Forum will be held in Budapest, and this will provide new opportunities for both sides. I hope that we can take this opportunity to promote more development under the 16+1 framework and continue to transform opportunities into more tangible results. We must move this relationship between China and CEE countries to a higher level. Thank you.”