Agriculture, service trade to boost ties with CEEC
Exhibitors examine goods from Slovakia during an exhibition in Ningbo, Zhejiang province. [Photo provided to China Daily]
Economic and trade potential between China and Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC) will be further enriched by closer international industrial capacity cooperation and agricultural product and service trade, a government official said on May 29.
"Backed by strong political and business ties, both sides have more space to expand trade and investment, and deepen cooperation in fields such as modern agriculture and services, infrastructure and transportation, tourism and education," said Li Chenggang, assistant minister of commerce.
The total trade volume between China and the European Union jumped 5.9 percent year-on-year to $220 billion in the first four months of this year, while the trade with CEEC grew by 7.9 percent year-on-year to $28.55 billion, data from the ministry showed.
"Total trade between China and CEEC accounted for just 13 percent of the total between China and the EU during the same period," he said, adding the two sides should have more potential for trade, service and investment cooperation from a long-term perspective.
The Ministry of Commerce will work closely with other government branches such as General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine to help more CEEC products including passenger vehicles, amber, crystal and beer enter the Chinese market, according to Li.
"The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games will also generate new growth momentum in winter sports, tourism, equipment manufacturing and other service businesses between China and countries such as Slovenia, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Bosnia and Herzegovina," he said.
China's exports to the CEEC totaled $59.19 billion in 2018, while imports reached $23.04 billion, up 19.6 percent and 24.6 percent year-on-year respectively, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.
Investment between the two sides also expanded. Chinese companies have invested over $10 billion in the CEEC, while receiving more than $1.5 billion from them. Bilateral investment covers sectors including auto parts, chemicals, finance and medicine.
China is willing to deepen economic and trade cooperation with the CEEC and further align the Belt and Road Initiative with CEEC national development strategies to seek win-win partnerships, said Feng Yaoxiang, director of the investment promotion division at the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.
Roman Wojdyla, general manager of Home Credit Consumer Finance Co Ltd, a Czech Republic-based consumer finance provider, said after eight years of development, the company has established a presence in 312 Chinese cities with over 230,000 sales points.
"We have also worked alongside with Chinese partners such as Oppo and Vivo to expand into the Association of Southeast Asian Nations region, especially Vietnam and the Philippines, leveraging the growth opportunities brought by the BRI," he said.
"Besides helping consumers to buy mobile phones, we are also making efforts to offer consumers omnichannel experiences in more diverse areas, such as home appliances, home decoration, beauty, tourism, vocational education and fitness," he said.
Approved by the State Council, the China-Central and Eastern European Countries Expo, or China-CEEC Expo, has been upgraded this year to become a national-level expo, which is scheduled to be held from June 8 to 12 in Ningbo in East China's Zhejiang province.