2018 in consular review: achievements and plans

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/12/26 19:58:39

Global Times asks Shanghai consuls general about their accomplishments over the past 12 months and what they hope for the future. Here are the second seven.

Sabri Tunç Angili, Consul General of Turkey in Shanghai Photos: Courtesy of the interviewees

They say Shanghai represents the future of China. I say the future has already arrived. Shanghai has become a symbol of modern, open and dynamic China, and it has been a great privilege for me to represent my country here as the Consul General of Turkey.

2018 witnessed many events that brought Turkey and China even closer. Shanghai played a very important role in this process. The mayor of Shanghai, Ying Yong, visited Istanbul in June of 2018. This was an important visit where two sister cities - Istanbul and Shanghai - discussed a plan for the future. Ministers of Culture and Justice from Turkey visited Shanghai and had very fruitful meetings with the leadership of Shanghai Municipal People's Government.

We also organized series of cultural events in Shanghai to introduce different aspects of Turkish culture to Shanghainese. Most impressive, in my opinion, was the performance of Fire of Anatolia Dance Group at Danning Theater in April. I believe that cultural exchanges significantly improve contact and understanding. I am happy to be a part of this, as Shanghai is the center of both economic and cultural ties between Turkey and China. In addition, artists, writers, film directors and painters from Turkey visited Shanghai to exhibit their works and attend international festivals. 

The event of the year in Shanghai was of course the first China International Import Expo (CIIE). The Turkish Deputy Minister of Trade attended the opening ceremony. In total, 43 Turkish companies participated in this important event. With CIIE, Shanghai became the place where Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the further opening of China to the world. Shanghai plays an important role in Turkey's trade with China. We also want to see more companies from Shanghai to invest in Turkey.

Turkey aims to translate a long lasting friendship with China into a strong partnership under the framework of the Belt and Road initiative. Shanghai will definitely be the center of this partnership, as this city will continue to lead the economic development of China.

I wish a happy, healthy and prosperous new year to all.

Christine Althauser, Consul General of Germany in Shanghai

This was my second year here in Shanghai and I continue to be impressed by this dynamic megacity. It is not only an economic powerhouse but also a city with a vibrant cultural scene. Countless examples illustrate this, like the Shanghai International Film Festival including the German Focus section, and plenty of concerts and exhibitions, such as the Shanghai Biennale.

Our countries are more intertwined than ever, with Germany being China's biggest trading partner in Europe and China being trade-partner number-one for Germany. Chancellor Angela Merkel visited China for the 11th time and Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas came to Beijing as well as our Federal President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, in December.

In Shanghai we welcomed a wide range of high-ranking delegations from Germany, from the federal government as well as from federal states and from business institutions and companies. They all came to see the breathtaking economic development of Shanghai and its surrounding regions and explore possibilities for further Sino-German cooperation.

In the world of business, China International Import Expo (CIIE) was the milestone event of the year. This trade fair was a signal for further economic opening up by China and I hope that more concrete steps will be taken next year.

While CIIE attracted more than 170 companies from Germany, it seems that the right balance between security concerns and lean procedures for exhibitors and visitors still has to be found.

For 2019 and 2020, Germany will be a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. In this capacity, Germany will seek multilateral cooperation to tackle global challenges such as peace, security and climate change.

Moreover, we will celebrate 30 years of the fall of the Berlin Wall. In the cultural field there will be the 100th anniversary of Bauhaus amongst other highlights.

For 2019, I hope that Shanghai will remain as open and welcoming to foreigners and expats as it has been in the past.

Luc Decker, Consul General of Luxembourg in Shanghai

I have been based in Shanghai for over five years and it is fascinating to observe the city developing at a tremendous pace. Simple things in life like paying the bakery next door have completely changed as Shanghai becomes a cashless society. Environment protection is getting better, and even foreign businesses think that they now have a fair chance at winning IPR infringement cases in Shanghai.

From a Luxembourg perspective, we have seen the Silk Road by Air linking Luxembourg and China multiply cargo airplanes flying between both countries with our national carrier Cargolux flying up to 50 times per week and China Southern just having inaugurated a new route between Shanghai and the Grand-Duchy.

In the field of finance, ties are strong; since I arrived, five large Chinese banks have joined BOC and ICBC with their European hubs in Luxembourg. This year has clearly been under the sign of sustainable finance with the establishment of the green bond between Shanghai and Luxembourg Stock Exchanges and many Chinese institutions listing their green bonds in Luxembourg.

In high technology, it is worth mentioning that Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal, the largest steel producer in the world, opened no less than four JV plants in China in 2017, producing lighter and more secure specialty steel parts for electric vehicles. In 2018, more and more young innovative Chinese companies have chosen Luxembourg for their European expansion in fields like financial technology, blockchain or AI.

Beyond business, the Luxembourg National Museum of History and Art is currently showing "The Origins of Chinese Civilization: Archaeological Treasures of Henan." From December to March 2019, our Shanghainese friends will be able to visit the exhibition "Nested" by Luxembourg artist Su-Mei Tse at YUZ museum. With a new Luxembourg government since the beginning of December, I am looking forward to further developing ties between our two countries. Ministers in charge of Economy, Finance or Transportation have visited China many times and they will continue to keep us busy at the Consulate and the Trade and Investment Office.

Remco van Wijngaarden, Consul General of the Netherlands in Shanghai

It was a great year in Netherlands-China relations. Our King H.M. Willem-Alexander and Queen H.M. Maxima paid a working visit to Beijing in February under the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, less than 18 months after their state visit in 2015.

In April, our Prime Minister Mark Rutte led four other ministers and a large business delegation on a visit to China. In Shanghai we welcomed Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag and State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management Stientje van Veldhoven and their business delegations.

In October, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited the Netherlands where he again met with his counterpart, Prime Minister Mark Rutte. These frequent high-level visits show that our bilateral relations are thriving.

For me personally, moving to Shanghai with my family in August was a great honor. I always hoped to be posted in Shanghai ever since I joined the foreign service. So 2018 is a dream-come-true year for me.

In 2019 our mission is to further strengthen and deepen our economic relations with China, especially in the fields of sustainability, urban development and innovation. Not only do we face challenges in these areas for both our countries, we are also convinced that only by joint effort can we come up with the best smart solutions. And smart solutions are what the Netherlands like to cooperate in.

In 2019, we will also celebrate the 40th anniversary of sister city relations between Rotterdam and Shanghai.

I have two professional hopes for 2019. First, that the Netherlands Consulate General here in Shanghai will continue to be able to contribute significantly to smart solutions between Dutch and Chinese partners for the challenges we face here in China.

Second, I hope that we can also specifically cooperate on sustainable urban development for Shanghai in 2019, which will be my new home for the next four years.

I would be honored to contribute to Shanghai's goals to become a greener and more sustainable city where everyone can enjoy both working and living.

Amb.Khaled Youssef, Consul General of Egypt in Shanghai

As my tour of duty is nearly coming to an end in January of 2019 after having served as Consul General of Egypt in Shanghai for four years, it is indeed breathtaking to witness the milestones that have been achieved in Egyptian-Sino relations, elevated from a strategic partnership in 1999 to a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2014.

This comprehensive strategic partnership has led to the consolidation and enhancement of bilateral relations to a whole new horizon that was reflected in six presidential visits by H.E. President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to China (bilateral and multilateral), and one presidential visit by President Xi Jinping to Egypt since 2014. Many bilateral cooperation agreements were signed in the fields of power generation, the construction of a new administrative capital, space and transportation.

In Shanghai in 2018, we were blessed with several high level visits and we highly appreciate being chosen as one of 12 guests of honor to participate in the first round of the China International Import Expo in Shanghai in November, which was headed by the Prime Minister of Egypt. I am also extremely pleased to see that the National Bank of Egypt's Branch in China (based in Shanghai) is expanding its business after acquiring a license to deal in RMB and continues to play a pivotal role in facilitating commercial and investment cooperation between China, the Middle East and African countries.

Foreign direct Chinese investment in industrial and production projects in Egypt increased at a rate of 25 percent in 2018. There is a Chinese industrial zone managed by TEDA, located strategically by the Suez Canal, and we are happy to witness its expansion to 6 square kilometers to accommodate growing demand from Chinese enterprises.

As Consul General of Egypt in Shanghai, I would like to express my deepest admiration to the Shanghai Municipal People's Government for the tremendous support that they have given me. I would also like to congratulate them for their outstanding achievements. I am confident that Shanghai will be a global economic, financial, trading, cultural and shipping center by 2020.  


Olivier Zehnder, Consul General of Switzerland in Shanghai

Four months have passed since my arrival in the thriving metropolis of Shanghai, the heart of the Yangtze River Delta. No surprise that the region remains the preferred location for doing business in - and with - China. Existing Swiss companies are expanding, and new ones are setting up facilities here.

Shanghai's dynamism is well recognized by our government. In September of this year, Federal Councilor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann led 50 Swiss business leaders and representatives from the higher-education sector of Switzerland to the city. They were briefed on new developments and research in E-mobility. The Swiss delegation witnessed how new ideas are implemented with speed and optimism.

The acronym China International Import Expo (CIIE) spread quickly and resonated that "China is open for business!" This message was taken up by State Secretary for Economic Affairs, Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch who inaugurated the Swiss National Pavilion at CIIE in the presence of Swiss Ambassador to China Jean-Jacques de Dardel.

The pavilion presented my country's leading position in innovation as well as traditional Swiss values such as tourism and hospitality. I noticed with joy that visitors flocked in high numbers to our presence, be it at our National Pavilion or at the Commercial Center.

The Lucerne Festival Orchestra and the Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich performed during the China Shanghai International Arts Festival with success. I am delighted that Shanghainese people had many opportunities to meet Swiss artists and their works and with great proximity, and I assure you that 2019 will see a growth in such cultural encounters. 

The Sino-Swiss agenda for next year is taking shape. It is too early for unveiling more details, but what I can say now is that, in 2019, my team and I are working hard to present Switzerland in all her heterogeneity. My wish for the New Year is to strengthen and deepen our friendly ties with China and especially with the people of Shanghai.

Personally, I wish to get to know the Yangtze Delta region better, experience its rich traditions and history, and interact with many citizens from all walks of life.

Marek Ciesielczuk, Consul General of the Republic of Poland in Shanghai 

In the middle of September, I assumed my responsibility as the Consul General of the Republic of Poland in Shanghai. It was a year full of significance and greatness for me personally as well as for our two nations.

The year 2018 was the jubilee year marking the 100th anniversary of Poland regaining its independence. One hundred years ago, on November 11, the Polish state was reborn and a free Poland was reinstated on the map of the world after the First World War. For China, 2018 was the 40th year since the reform and opening-up policy was implemented, the successful results that this policy brought about have been seen in many aspects of Chinese people's life.

The first edition of the China International Import Expo (CIIE) was no doubt the highlight of the year for Shanghai as well as the whole country, from which I personally experienced the great potentials of this city.

High-ranking officials from the Polish government and more than 80 Polish exhibitors attended the fair, expressing their willingness to share great and unique Polish products and culture to Chinese society. We are glad that CIIE will become an annual event in the coming years and we look forward to seeing the Polish label become more popular and recognized among Chinese customers.

The year 2019 will mark the 70th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between Poland and China, and the 65th anniversary of setting up the Polish Consulate in Shanghai. We do hope that the key role that Poland holds both in the Belt and Road initiative and the 16+1 Framework proposed by the Chinese government will reinforce a long-term and stable partnership between our two countries.

The resolution of our mission in 2019 is to welcome more Chinese visitors to Poland and to hold joint cultural events with our Chinese counterparts. I am ready to embrace my new Shanghai life and to see this city become even more open and welcoming to the rest of the world in the coming year.



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