China’s environmental goals will create growth opportunities for European companies, some of which have decades of experience in the field, a top industry body head said.
Joerg Wuttke, president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, said China’s development during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25) will certainly make it a larger economy. It will be a more sophisticated economy, with very demanding customers and focused more on qualitative, rather than quantitative growth. There will also be an added emphasis on environmental protection, he said.
Wuttke’s comments come at a time when China has stated its resolve to peak carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.
“At the same time, Europe is a continent which is high-tech and which has a lot of very efficient, good small and medium-sized enterprises. I hope that Chinese business finds more opportunities to buy into this,” he said, adding “we need investment on both sides in order to get the economies closer.”
Economic ties between Europe and China have been “dense and successful,” Wuttke said. China has become the biggest trade partner of the European Union, while the EU is China’s second-largest trade partner.
The China-EU Comprehensive Agreement on Investment, negotiations for which were finished in December, is yet to be put into effect. Still, Wuttke hopes that steps would be taken to provide greater access for European firms in sectors such as new energy vehicles and healthcare in China.
The chamber is trying to organize a conference on sports, including a visit to Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games venues, later this year to show the business side and the health implications of sports, Wuttke said.
Meanwhile, the chamber has closely followed the initiative of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, where the gross domestic product is expected to reach about $4.6 trillion in 2030, said Klaus Zenkel, chairman of the chamber’s South China chapter.
“I think there is potential and very good opportunities for foreign investment in this area and new technologies. For example, Shenzhen, Guangdong province, is a melting pot of talent with big diversity. Such diversity is crying for innovation.”