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2020-12-03 | All chapters

European Chamber Celebrates 20 Years in China

The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China held its 20th Anniversary Gala Dinner on 2nd December in Beijing. With the European Union (EU) and China having just signed their first-ever trade deal in September, the EU-China Geographical Indications (GI) Agreement, the European Chamber celebrated this significant achievement by displaying a selection of European and Chinese GI products during the gala reception and incorporating GI ingredients into the dinner, including wines, spirits, ham, cheeses, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Chinese tea.

Chinese dignitaries attending the gala included Vice Premier Hu Chunhua, Vice Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission Ning Jizhe, Deputy Secretary General of the State Council Gao Yu, Chairperson of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) Gao Yan, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Qin Gang, Vice Minister of Agriculture Zhang Taolin, Vice Minister of Commerce Yu Jianhua, and Beijing Vice Mayor Yang Jinbai. Ambassador of the EU to China, HE Nicolas Chapuis, and ambassadors of 18 EU Member States also joined the gala, along with over 200 European Chamber members.

Speeches were given by European Chamber President Joerg Wuttke, CCPIT Chairperson Gao Yan, Executive Vice-president (EVP) of the European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice Premier Hu Chunhua, and Ambassador Nicolas Chapuis.

“I could not be prouder of how far the European Chamber and our members have come in just two decades,” said President Wuttke. “Looking forward to the years to come, we hope that we can be a part of China’s ambitions, such as the bold journey that will be required to meet China’s 2060 carbon-neutrality goal.”

CCPIT Chairperson Gao Yan said during her speech that: “The CCPIT is ready to work with the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China to support and help each other in promoting EU-China relations to a higher level…and help EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment negotiations to conclude as soon as possible.”

EVP Dombrovskis thanked the Chamber for the work it does “as an influential and trusted stakeholder in the EU-China relationship”. He went on to say that the European Commission relies on the Chamber “to help us fulfil Europe’s trade and investment potential in China. This will be particularly important as we strive to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In Vice Premier Hu Chunhua’s review of EU-China relations, he said that “China is ready to work with the European side to earnestly implement the important consensus reached by the two leaders, actively promote the negotiation of the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment, continuously expand the breadth and depth of cooperation, and inject new impetus into the development of the EU-China comprehensive strategic partnership.”

Vice Premier Hu recognised that “the EU Chamber of Commerce in China is an important participant and promoter of EU-China cooperation [that should] continue to play a bridging role and make greater contributions to strengthening exchanges and communication and deepening mutually beneficial cooperation between Chinese and EU enterprises.”

Ambassador Chapuis expressed his appreciation to Chinese dignitaries attending the dinner, recognised the Chamber’s work during the past 20 years and emphasised the importance of EU-China trade in agricultural products, highlighting the significance of the GI Agreement. “This [GI] agreement is rooted in cooperation to ensure a higher level of protection for the direct benefit of producers and consumers,” said Ambassador Chapuis. “It demonstrates the ability of the EU and China to deliver positive results with the right political effort at the highest level and paves the way towards further EU-China trade agreements in the future.”

The Chamber would like to extend its sincere thanks to diamond sponsors BP, Knorr-Bremse, Merck and Schneider Electric; corporate sponsors BMW, Deutsche Bank, Maersk, Snam, Société Générale, Total and Veolia; wine sponsor Pernod Ricard; as well as all those that contributed GI products to the event. The Chamber would also like to extend special thanks to the CCPIT for its cooperation in making this event possible.

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Shihui Tang