On September 22, Wei Jianguo, Vice Chairman of China Center for International Economic Exchanges (CCIEE) and former Vice Minister of Commerce of China, said at an exclusive interview with Xinhua News Agency in Berlin that China-EU economic and trade cooperation has reached a critical moment, there are more opportunities than challenges. Both sides should adjust their understandings, seize opportunities and jointly develop new areas of cooperation.
Wei Jianguo said that the current unilateralism and trade protectionism pursued by the US will not just threaten global free trade and the international multilateral system, but will also jeopardize world economic growth. “Amid the increasing uncertainties, choosing a friend and a trusted partner is far more important than exploring a big market.”
Europe is the world’s largest market and China is the largest trader. If the two sides can strengthen mutual support and understanding, jointly safeguard global trade liberalization and oppose unilateralism, they will be able to maintain the multilateral trading system and improve global economic growth, apart from open a new chapter in bilateral cooperation.
Wei Jianguo hopes that Europe will adjust its mentality and treat China as a partner rather than a competitor because the two share common interests and goals and face similar difficulties.
He said that China and the EU have great potential for cooperation in many areas such as the reform of the World Trade Organization, the Belt and Road initiative, the development of third markets, new technologies, processes and materials.
The delegation of the China-EU high-end think tanks visited Belgium, Switzerland and Germany, had seminars with well-known local think tanks and organizations, including the European Commission, the World Trade Organization and the German Federal Parliament.
Wei Jianguo said that on the one hand, he did not realize that their European counterparts have a rather limited understanding or even misunderstanding of China’s policy and status quo. On the other hand, he did not expect that they are so eager to communicate with Chinese think tanks discussing current problems facing the globalization.
“The top priority for China-EU cooperation is to strengthen communication, which will help to promote a better understanding about each other between the Chinese and European think tanks, enterprises, people and governments so that they can seize the historical opportunity to enhance cooperation,” said Wei Jianguo.