Via China Daily

A China Railway Express cargo container is loaded onto a truck at the Eurokombi terminal in Hamburg, Germany, on May 29, 2018. [Photo/Xinhua]

Two sides set role model of facilitating multilateralism and free trade, experts say

China and the European Union have maintained steady development of bilateral economic relations, adding stability to the global economy, which is shadowed by mounting uncertainties.

In the first five months of this year, the EU remained China’s largest trading partner, with bilateral trade volume up 11.7 percent year-on-year to 1.9 trillion yuan ($276 billion), official data showed. Such an amount accounted for 15.7 percent of China’s total trade volume in the period.

The steady trade growth is based on the interdependence of bilateral economic and trade relations and the two sides’ consensus on striving for mutual benefit and development, experts said.

Trade between China and the EU has demonstrated the high complementarity of the two economies, said Liang Ming, an expert with a research institute of the Ministry of Commerce, adding that market demand from each side keeps boosting bilateral trade growth.

More importantly, the two sides, with enhanced economic relations, have set a role model of facilitating multilateralism and free trade against stronger headwinds, insiders said.

“Against the backdrop of rising trade protectionism, the stable development of China-EU economic cooperation plays a pivotal role in stabilizing the global economy,” Liang said.

Bai Ming, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, said the two economies boast a solid foundation for economic and trade cooperation.

Apart from offering various opportunities to both sides, cooperation between the two economies is of particular significance amid growing trade tensions in the global economy, Bai added.

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With a growing emphasis on their economic and trade relationship, China and the EU are making joint efforts to promote bilateral cooperation, especially under the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative.

The China-Europe rail service, a significant part of the BRI expected to boost trade between China and Europe, has developed rapidly since it started operations, with the total cargo value rising 106 percent year-on-year to hit $33 billion in 2018.

To date, the cross-border rail network has connected 62 Chinese cities with 51 European cities in 15 countries.

While Italy became the first Group of Seven member to join the BRI in March this year, other major European powers have also expressed their willingness to step up cooperation with China under the BRI.

Meanwhile, investment between the two economies is also prospering with China’s nonstop expansion of opening-up and moves to accommodate foreign investors.

After approving the landmark Foreign Investment Law, aimed to provide stronger protection and a better business environment for overseas investors, the country has vowed to encourage foreign investment in the advanced manufacturing and modern service industries and multinationals to establish headquarters or R&D centers in State-level economic and technological development zones.

Deeming the opening-up measures as attractions to EU companies, Liang said that as China opens up its manufacturing, financial and services industries, huge potential for further cooperation will be unleashed in the future.

“Although the external uncertainties are accumulating, the China-EU economic and trade relations have remained an absolute certainty,” Liang said, adding that bilateral cooperation will surely maintain stable development this year and continue to act as a major stabilizer of the world economy.

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