China and EU need to act firmly on multilateralism: envoy
Published: Sep 10, 2020 10:49 AM

Photo: IC

China and the European Union (EU) need to act firmly on multilateralism, strengthen macroeconomic policy coordination, safeguard the security and stability of global industrial and supply chains, and push for a speedy economic recovery globally, said the Chinese ambassador to the EU.

At the second China-EU Business Dialogue organized by the China Chamber of Commerce to the EU and attended by the EU officials and business representatives, Zhang Ming, head of the Chinese Mission to the EU, also urged further cooperation on areas such as pandemic prevention and digitalization and openness against the backdrop of the unprecedented headwinds against globalization.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a major global recession, with rising unilateralism andprotectionism. The ambassador believes that multilateralism must be upheld and connectivity and exchanges remain indispensable. 

"In the past decades, world prosperity and China's opening-up have been made possible in the context of globalization. In face of challenges, globalization might have to adapt, but will not be reversed," said Zhang, noting that the fundamental principles for market economy such as fairness, openness and non-discrimination must not be abandoned.

China and the EU hold a common view on openness. The EU itself is a product of openness and connectivity, and emphasizes that openness is in its DNA. China has learned plenty of valuable experiences from European partners in the past 40-plus years of reform and opening-up, said Zhang.

Thanks to the strong commitment and joint efforts of the two sides, significant progress has been made in the investment agreement negotiation, said Zhang.

He noted that both sides need to finish the negotiation by the end of this year and kick-start the FTA process at an early date, bringing more predictability to businesses on both sides. 

Meanwhile, on the battle against COVID-19, both China and the EU need to identify more opportunities for cooperation under new circumstances, by stepping up the development and production of vaccines, medicines and testing kits, and conducting trilateral cooperation in less developed regions like Africa, said Zhang.

On digital economy, China and the EU also share respective strengths and similar concerns and the ambassador suggested that both sides should continue to open their markets to each other so that they may enhance technological and industrial cooperation, and make joint contributions to global standards and rules in the digital domain.

"At this crucial moment of fighting COVID-19 and pursuing post-COVID-19 recovery, businesses from the two sides are looking upon China and Europe to make the right choice between opening doors and shutting doors, and between cooperation and decoupling," said Zhang, adding that this is a choice that would shape the world's future.