China, Belgium set model for China-EU cooperation. Beijing is ready with Brussels to strengthen the cooperation between two countries and exchanges at all levels
Belgium is a reliable partner of China in Europe. Last year in October, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited Belgium to to strengthen cooperation between Brussels and Beijing. His tours come amid China’s efforts to boost economic and trade ties with Europe against the backdrop of rising unilateralism and protectionism in the world.
Belgium established diplomatic relations with China on October 25, 1971. Since 2000, the two countries have maintained close high-level interactions.
The steady development of China-Belgium relations was based on mutual respect, equality and caring for each other’s core interests, then Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping said on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of China-Belgium diplomatic ties in 2011.
China and Belgium decided to upgrade their relations to an all-round partnership of friendship and cooperation during President Xi’s state visit to Belgium in 2014.
In 2015, King Philippe of Belgium traveled to China for a week-long state visit at Xi’s invitation. “The China-Belgium relationship is at its height after years of smooth development,” Xi told King Philippe, noting that China regards Belgium as an important partner in the European Union. King Philippe said Belgium is a reliable partner of China in Europe and will act as a bridge between the two sides.
With the EU headquartered in Brussels, Belgium plays a vital role in European affairs and is promoting the docking between the investment plan for Europe and China’s Belt and Road Initiative enjoying fruitful economic and trade cooperation.
Belgium is China’s sixth largest trading partner in the EU. The bilateral trade volume once exceeded 30 billion US dollars.
Belgium has actively carried out project investment in China in fields such as medicine, equipment, and chemical and IT industries. Both sides have worked together on a number of joint ventures and created some well-known brands in China, including Xian Janssen Pharmaceutical and Guangzhou Zhujiang Brewery Group. Brussels is also an active partner of China in financial sectors.
It was the first Western country to provide China with interest-free loans and also the first country to establish an industrial cooperation fund with China.
In November 2004, China-Belgium Direct Equity Investment Fund, the first industrial investment fund between the two, was established. Bank of China and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China opened branches in Brussels in 2011.
The reinforced cooperation between China and the EU as well as between China and EU member states will add more positive factors to global stability and development as well as inject more positive energy into the recovery of the world economy.
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