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Premier Li attends high-level virtual dialogue with European entrepreneurs

Updated: Feb 06,2021 09:25 PM    Xinhua/

Premier Li Keqiang attended a high-level dialogue with European entrepreneurs via video link in Beijing on Feb 5.

He introduced China’s current economic situation and development prospects and exchanged views with the business people on common concerns such as China-Europe trade and investment cooperation, China’s business environment, the fight against COVID-19 and actions to deal with climate change.

The dialogue was chaired by Peter Mandelson, former trade commissioner of the European Commission and former British cabinet minister, and attended by heads of nearly 30 well-known European companies, such as Volvo, Airbus, DAVCO, AstraZeneca, L'Oreal, BASF and SAP.

On China's economic situation, Premier Li said that faced with the COVID-19 pandemic and a deep global recession, the Chinese government maintained a coolheaded approach and adopted timely, decisive and effective macro policies, which produced good results at a reasonable cost.

The Chinese economy achieved early and steady recovery, registering a year-round growth of 2.3 percent, he said.

According to the Premier, China's central and local governments introduced targeted relief policies to address the needs of struggling market entities. Methods such as phased, large-scale tax and fee cuts were adopted to help market entities overcome their difficulties, especially the large number of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and household businesses in various sectors that were hit hardest by the pandemic. Last year, these policies saved more than 2.5 trillion yuan of business costs for market entities of all types.

In the meantime, China has done much to improve the business environment and unleash market vitality, said Premier Li, adding that China has further streamlined the business registration procedures and offered equal safeguards for all types of businesses to level the playing field.

Thanks to these steps, the number of MSMEs and household businesses rebounded in the second half of last year, with the total number of market entities reaching 130 million in China, he said.

Premier Li noted that the newly established businesses have shown a robust performance, contributing 2.5 trillion yuan to the tax revenue last year.

The surviving and thriving of hundreds of millions of market entities has laid a solid foundation for keeping employment stable, meeting people's basic needs, and stabilizing the fundamentals of the Chinese economy, he added.

The Chinese economy has deeply integrated into the world economy, and reform and opening-up is the only way for China to achieve modernization, the Premier said. China has achieved development through opening-up and has raised its level of development in the opening-up, he noted, adding that China will stay determined to open-up further and remain committed to promoting trade and investment liberalization and facilitation.

He suggested that all parties meet each other halfway, jointly uphold multilateralism and other international consensus, and abide by the rules-based multilateral trading system and the principles of fair competition.

China and the EU recently announced the China-EU investment agreement negotiations were completed on schedule, which demonstrates the joint efforts to uphold international rules and the common desire to take the economic and trade cooperation to a new level, he said.

When talking about vaccine cooperation, Premier Li said vaccines are the ultimate weapon in the fight against the pandemic and are global public products, thus the international community should strengthen global vaccine cooperation.

The successful cooperation between European pharmaceutical companies and their Chinese counterparts in vaccine production once again proves that maintaining the stability of the global industrial and supply chain is crucial to global work and production resumption and the well-being of mankind, the Premier said.

He also noted that China will continue to strengthen cooperation with other parties on research and development of vaccines and drugs to better safeguard the health and safety of the people.

On tackling climate change, Premier Li called on the international community to join hands to reduce emissions and pollution. Recently, President Xi Jinping said China will strive to peak its carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, and Chinese government is working on a schedule for that.

As a major manufacturing country, China is committed to leveraging its existing resources and will stick to the transition to a low-carbon energy system and the transformation toward a comprehensive green economy and society while promoting high-quality development, the Premier said.

China-EU cooperation on green development, digital economy and smart manufacturing has broad prospects, he said. It is expected that the European side will open up more to China in clean energy technology and other fields, and China is ready to strengthen cooperation with the EU in this regard, Premier Li said.

Mandelson and other participants lauded China’s achievements in economic and social development, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic has further proved the importance of multilateralism and global cooperation, and a strong Europe-China partnership will lead the international community in jointly addressing global challenges.

The on-schedule completion of China-EU investment agreement negotiations has released great positives, they said. The European business community is expecting the approval and full implementation of the agreement, and will work with China to expand cooperation in green development, digital transformation, financial investment, and climate change, according to the participants.

China’s fast development and sustained economic prosperity have brought benefits to European enterprises that have invested in China for a long time, they said, adding that the European business community is confident about China’s development and will continue to strengthen cooperation with China.

State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi also attended the meeting.