Beijing’s E-Town eyes closer cooperation with French businesses as China, France celebrate 60 years of diplomatic ties
Published: Jan 28, 2024 09:43 PM
China France Photo:VCG

China France Photo:VCG

Chinese and French officials and businesses on Sunday launched the China-France industrial cultural exchange week in the Beijing Economic and Technological Development Area (BDA), known as Beijing E-Town, to promote economic and trade cooperation, with a focus on emerging new industries such as green development and the digital economy.

The cultural exchange week is part of a wide-ranging series of events that are aimed at marking the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations and promoting closer bilateral cooperation. Thanks to sound bilateral ties over the past several decades, China-France cooperation has reached many milestones and still has great potential, officials and business leaders noted. 

In a speech at the launch event, Zhang Qiang, secretary of the BDA Working Committee, said that many French businesses have set up operations in the Beijing E-Town and have achieved fruitful results. Beijing E-Town, with its superb business environment and services, continues to welcome more companies from France and other countries, Zhang said. 

"After 60 years, the China-France friendship is unfading. Beijing E-Town's mission of serving businesses will never change. China and France have huge potential for cooperation in the industries of the future," Zhang said. 

At the launch event, representatives from several major French companies, including Schneider Electric, Faurecia and Air Liquide, discussed the great potential for China-France cooperation in areas such as green development and digital economy.

China and France on Saturday marked the 60th anniversary of the start of bilateral diplomatic relations, and the two countries aim to take the anniversary as an opportunity to uphold fundamental principles, break new ground, build on past achievements, open up a new future and make the China-France comprehensive strategic partnership more solid and dynamic.

China-France economic and trade cooperation has maintained sound growth in recent years. France is China's third-largest trading partner in the EU and the third-largest source of foreign investment, while China is France's largest trading partner in Asia and the seventh-largest trading partner in the world, Lu Shaye, China's Ambassador to France, wrote in an article on Saturday. 

Lu wrote in the article published in the People's Daily that the two countries have maintained smooth cooperation in traditional projects such as aerospace, civilian nuclear energy and high-speed rail, while cooperation in new areas such as the digital economy and renewable energy is very promising. 

In 2023, bilateral trade grew by 3.1 percent year-on-year to reach 555.11 billion yuan ($77.34 billion). Notably, despite a global slump in cross-border investment, French investment into China jumped by 81 percent year-on-year in 2023, according to China's Commerce Ministry. 

Jiang Yun, general-secretary of the China Overseas Development Association, said that while there have been some "fluctuations" in China-EU ties recently, both sides should "remain steadfast in our commitment to China-France and China-Europe cooperation, given the huge potential and win-win nature of cooperation." 

"There are new things and new industries, which inevitably bring some challenges because of different understandings and positions on new things, but if we establish a dialogue mechanism, invite all parties including those from Europe to participate in areas such as new-energy vehicles, and create win-win results, I think we can overcome the current challenges," Jiang told the Global Times.   

Global Times