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China works with European countries to resume business between SMEs

Updated: Jun 19,2020 11:38 AM    CGTN

While the world continues to feel the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, the situation for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is very difficult, especially those relying on international exchanges and trade. Now some Chinese and European institutions are adopting new ways to enable enterprises to resume exchanges and promote new cooperation.

Chinese and European partners are actively using online communication to promote cooperation. A total of 121 Eastern European companies, 14 foreign government agencies, and 157 Chinese companies attended a recent business exchange session between China and Central and Eastern European countries.

The conference was held through online meeting platforms with four major themes, namely "industrial manufacturing", "trade and investment and agriculture," "tourism, people-to-people exchanges," as well as "healthcare".

This new approach has created an opportunity for SMEs in China and Central and Eastern European countries to carry out in-depth cooperation and exchanges in response to the impact of the epidemic.

Cangzhou in North China's Hebei province is one of the cities that has built long and close ties with Central and Eastern European countries. Mei Shitong, mayor of Cangzhou, said in his speech delivered online, that in the face of the sudden outbreak of COVID-19, the China-Central and Eastern Europe (Cangzhou) SME Cooperation Zone platform, located in Hebei province, has purchased 22.5 tons of medical protective clothing and other materials from the Czech Republic, Slovakia and other Central and Eastern European countries.

Mei said these materials had helped the city to quickly restore from the impact of the epidemic. By the end of February, over 90 percent of the production in Cangzhou was restored. When the outbreak hit Central and Eastern European countries, the city donated 345,000 pieces of protective clothing, N95 masks and other protective materials to Slovakia, Poland, Croatia, and other countries.

Lu Shan, deputy director of the European Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said on June 16 that China is willing to strengthen information exchange with Central and Eastern European countries and build more platforms for SMEs, in order to resume production and cooperation with Chinese companies and minimize the impact of the epidemic.

He expressed high hopes for an online collaboration platform currently being developed by the company, which he believed will become a new way for people to communicate.

Andrej Zmeck, FOH Business Development Director of IPEC Group, has been visiting China frequently for the past three years. However, the COVID-19 outbreak has hampered the project he has been working on with Chinese partners. "We have been planning to finalize this big airport we had, and simple this is now frozen more or less," he said.

"We have to discover new ways to cooperate. So in that sense, we developed a new project of VR and AR company … not only for conference but also for direct computer aid design cooperation … maybe that's the only way to make it fast going and start again all cooperation," Andrej added.