China-CEEC cooperation achievements hailed at mayors forum
The 2019 China-CEEC Mayors Forum opens in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, on June 7. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
The 2019 China-CEEC Mayors Forum opened in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, on June 7 with the purpose of deepening regional cooperation.
Officials from 23 cities in Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC) and Chinese cities, including Hefei in East China's Anhui province and Shaoxing and Zhoushan in Zhejiang province, attended the event.
Qiu Dongyao, mayor of Ningbo, gave a speech at the event in which he addressed the city's role as a pivot along the ancient Maritime Silk Road. He contrasted this with its remarkable modern achievements in promoting exchange and cooperation with countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, particularly CEE countries.
Qiu has pledged that Ningbo will continue and strengthen this cooperation in innovation, economy and trade, and investment with CEEC and advance student exchanges. The city will also conduct joint research and expand partnerships with its CEEC counterparts in the fields of digital economy, e-commerce, financial technology and smart city construction.
A series of major projects are underway in Montenegro, including a high-speed railway which is being funded and built by Chinese companies, said Filip Vujanovic, honorary president of the Republic of Montenegro.
He added that he looks forward to expanding cooperation with China in culture, tourism, education, sports, urban management and energy development.
China-CEEC cooperation, known as 16+1 initiative, has gone far beyond geographical location and grown into an open, inclusive and mutually beneficial cross-regional platform, as evidenced by Greece becoming a new member this year, making it 17+1 mechanism.
In 2018, the total trade volume between China and CEEC hit a record high of $82.2 billion, a year-on-year increase of 21 percent. China's direct investment in CEEC rose 67 percent annually despite the lackluster growth in global investment.
Over 1.4 million Chinese tourists visited CEEC and 350,000 CEEC visitors toured China last year.
In November 2017, China launched a demonstration zone in Ningbo, the first of its kind in China, to boost economic and trade ties with CEEC.
Qiu Dongyao, mayor of Ningbo addresses the 2019 China-CEEC Mayors Forum in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, on June 7. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]