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China-EU trade, cultural exchanges becoming more important, says expert

Updated: Apr 11,2019 8:48 PM     Xinhua

LONDON — China’s further opening-up augurs well for Europe and their trade and cultural exchanges bear growing importance, a British scholar has said.

Cambridge University professor Alan Barrell made the remarks in an interview with Xinhua following the 21st China-European Union (EU) leaders’ meeting in Brussels.

In a joint statement issued on April 9, China and the EU reiterated their shared commitment to further cementing their partnership and safeguarding free trade and multilateralism.

Noting that China and the EU are two great traders in the world, Barrell hailed the two sides’ commitment to building a mutually beneficial economic relationship on openness, non-discrimination and fair competition, saying their cooperation has a bright prospect.

“China’s recent focus on increasing imports has further encouraged European nations and businesses to seek long-term trading connections and arrangements with China,” the professor said.

With Europe unsettled by Brexit, more trading arrangements with China are welcome, he added.

In particular, he pointed to the potential of China-EU innovation cooperation, noting that China’s growing leadership in such areas as artificial intelligence and machine learning and Europe’s expertise in scientific and medical research are highly complementary.

“In an age of technological convergence, synergy can cross continents and boost the efforts of all participants,” he added.

Given the headwind and uncertainty on the landscape of international trade, “increased trade and cultural exchanges between China and Europe become even more important,” he stressed.

History tells that trade wars are never won, said the scholar.

Barrell spoke highly of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), calling it “the most ambitious and courageous program of international outreach since the launch centuries ago of the old Silk Road.”

The initiative “offers individual nations within the EU specific opportunities to benefit from infrastructure development,” said the professor, noting that the BRI, as Chinese leaders have said repeatedly, is not exclusive but for everyone.

“We should be hopeful that strong and warm trade winds can now blow east to west and west to east, and give power to all those working to build a better world for all by developing trade and cultural links,” he said.