Flourishing Sino-Belgian trade

Updated: 2014-03-31 07:28

By Sun Yongfu for China Daily (China Daily)

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 Flourishing Sino-Belgian trade

President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan arrive at Brussels National Airport on Sunday. Eric Lalmand / AFP / BELGA

Diamonds, cars and tech fueling bilateral business

China-Belgium trade and investment has followed a sound track of development due to the lasting efforts by governments from both sides over the years.

Over the past decade, trade between the two countries has registered an annual growth of more than 16 percent, rising to almost $30 billion in 2011 from some $10 billion in 2005.

China has maintained healthy bilateral relations with Belgium for nearly half a century and considers this economic partnership one of the most important highlights in the relationship.

Belgium is now China's sixth-largest trade partner in the European Union, while China has been the second biggest trade partner - excluding EU members - to Belgium for years.

Last year, bilateral trade exceeded $25 billion, the third highest in history, despite the weak demand in Europe.

Transactions in mechanical and electrical products accounted for the largest proportion of 35 percent among China's exports to Belgium. Of China's imports, diamonds and automobiles are the main focuses, making up nearly one-third of the total products.

Flourishing Sino-Belgian trade

Also, the two sides have maintained strong cooperation in bilateral investment.

Drawing on its convenient financial policies, healthy legal system as well as open and fair commercial environment, Belgium has become one of the top destinations in Europe for Chinese companies to invest.

Data shows that Chinese companies have made a total of $3 billion investment in the EU country covering a wide range of sectors including finance, agriculture, hotels, ports and telecommunications.

On the other hand, China is a popular destination for Belgian investors. Total Belgian-funded projects numbered 912 by the end of last year. The combined $1.33 billion in investment involves such fields as construction materials, energy, food and chemicals.

In addition, Belgium has also consistently been one of China's most important sources of technology. By the end of last year, 774 of its technologies involving $3.5 billion in contractual value were in use in China.

Belgium has technological expertise in an array of domains such as microelectronics, chemicals, biomedicine, nuclear power and the circular economy. That offers enormous potential for further partnering between the two countries and will become a new growth spot in bilateral trade and investment.

China is currently devoted to economic transformation and industrial restructuring. It will further deepen the reform by establishing a new open-economy system that features balance, safety, mutual benefit and high efficiency.

Given the circumstances, the trade and economic partnership between China and Belgium will see more fruitful results.

To this end, the two countries need to promote cooperation in emerging industries including environmental protection, logistics and the green economy while increasing the cooperation in traditional sectors to advance the development of bilateral economic ties.

They should also oppose trade protectionism and encourage more bilateral investment and cooperation between cities in the two countries.

The author is director-general of the European Department of the Ministry of Commerce.

Flourishing Sino-Belgian trade