Le Soir “Focus on China and Belgium” – February 27, 2018


Chinese investment in the Port of Zeebrugge: strengthening the Sino-Belgian synergy
By Fu Jing, China Daily Brussels.

In 2010, Chinese carmaker Geely acquired Swedish automative company Volvo. Following this change of ownership, the activities of the brand in Belgium (Ghent) were given a new lease of life, thereby preserving the jobs of some 5,000 Belgian workers. Since July 2017, Volvo has been shipping thousands of Volvo CX60s and V40 to China through the port of Zeebrugge, which has in turn imported C90L models from Volvo’s factory in Heilongjiang. From there, cars are then transported by rail to various European markets. The potential of Zeebrugge, which has the advantage of being located near major road and rail networks, is thus fully exploited.

Zeebrugge, now the main port for the transport of cars in Europe, has been taken over by Chinese company COSCO Shipping in January 22 of 2018. According to Vincent de Saedeleer, the vice-president of Port of Zeebrugge, through the agreement signed with COSCO, they were able to draw up plans and strategies for the long term, a prospect that had been unthinkable before. During the signing ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister Kris Peeters also said that the decision of COSCO Shipping proves once again that Belgium, with its open economy and central position in Europe, is the ideal place for logistical investments.

China is changing, let’s take advantage of it!
By Bernard Dewit, Chairman of the Belgian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce.

Forty years ago, China opened itself to the world following the open-door policy launched by Deng Xiaoping. Since then, the country has experienced a spectacular growth. While China has focused on exportations for more than 35 years, the emphasis is now on qualitative growth. China plays an important role in the conception of a global policy to counter climate change and acts as a frontrunner in terms of research on artificial intelligence.

Should this progress alarm us? Not at all. Belgium’s companies are very dynamic, and our universities rank among the best in Europe. Therefore we constitute a partner of choice in this globalized and interconnected economy. At a time where Donald Trump leads the US down the path to isolationism, China reminds us that it has never been more open to the world, as was highlighted during the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in October 2017. According to the lunar calendar, we have just entered into the year of the dog; this animal is synonymous with loyalty, trust and generosity. May those qualities inspire and unite us.

According to H.E. Ambassador Qu Xing ,” The National Congress of the Communist Party of China is being closely monitored in Belgium.”
By Fu Jing, China Daily Brussels.

Every five years, the Chinese Communist Party holds a National Congress, during which new guidelines and strategies are discussed. The last one was held in October of 2017, and was followed closely by Belgian journalists, politicians, intellectual and business elite alike and most of them saw the new plans and strategies formulated by President Xi Jinping in a good light, according to H.E. Ambassador Qu Xing.

Following the Congress, the Advisor to Prime Minister Charles Michel congratulated H.E. Ambassador Qu Xing for the re-election of Xi Jinping as Secretary of the Party and wished it would bring a new impetus to Sino-Belgian relations.

To read the full article (in French), please follow this link : : LS_QUOTIDIEN2018-02-27N_BRUXELLES-BRABANT1