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Ambassador Zhang Ming Speaks at the Policy Dialogue "the EU-China Strategic Partnership 15 Years on-What Direction for the Next 15 Years?"
2018-10-31 17:23

On 26 October 2018, Ambassador Zhang Ming was invited to speak at the policy dialogue held by the European Policy Center under the theme “the EU-China Strategic Partnership 15 Years on—What Direction for the Next 15 Years?” Mr. Gunnar Wiegand, EEAS Managing Director for Asia and the Pacific, also attended as a keynote speaker. The event had more than 140 participants, including those from EU institutions, EU member states, non-EU countries, business community, think tanks and media.

Ambassador Zhang said that in the past 15 years, the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership has been marked by increasing political trust, closer economic ties and more intensive people-to-people exchanges. At the China-EU Summit in July and during the recently concluded ASEM Summit, Chinese and EU leaders had in-depth and productive discussions. Both sides expressed the commitment to upholding multilateralism and international rules, strengthening global governance, pushing for settlement of hotspot issues, and promoting connectivity and interconnected growth.

Ambassador Zhang said that reform and opening-up is widely supported by the 1.4 billion Chinese people, and that it is a certain way to go if China wants further development in the future. In the past year, China has taken major measures to ease market access, strengthen IPR protection and expand import. Many of these measures go further than what was committed by China upon its WTO accession, and were taken voluntarily in response to the actual need of China’s own development. Ambassador Zhang emphasized that China’s opening-up is not about words, but about actions, and that European companies are among the first to benefit from these new measures.

Ambassador Zhang said that history is a great source of inspiration. Every time the world came to a critical juncture, China-EU relations could make new steps forward. The growth of China-EU relations has always been accompanied by both opportunities and challenges. It is up to all of us to work together to identify opportunities, seize them and make the best of them for a better future of China-EU relations.

Stressing the importance of the EU-China comprehensive strategic partnership, Mr. Wiegand said that the EU and China are increasingly mature and mutually reliable partners, with good cooperation in economic and social development, trade, cultural and people-to-people exchanges, etc. Mr. Wiegand said that both Europe and Asia support multilateralism and the rules-based global trade order. It is important for Europe and Asia, especially Europe and China, to act together to address global challenges. Mr. Wiegand welcomed the steps taken by China to further reform and opening-up, and expressed EU’s readiness to forge closer cooperation with China in the future.

After the speeches, Ambassador Zhang and Mr. Wiegand answered questions on BIT talks, WTO reform, among others.

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