China-Belgium cooperation boosts job opportunities


By Dong Yuwen and Chen Wenxin – China Daily – April 2, 2019

Hundreds of job seekers from all over Belgium gathered on Thursday in Mechelen, about 20 kilometers northeast of Brussels, for the eighth ChinaCareers event in the hopes of entering the Chinese-Belgian labor market.

The recruitment event, jointly organized this year by the Belgian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce (BCECC) and the VOKA Mechelen-Kempen, an industrial association, attracted 17 companies from China and Belgium, including the Chinese liquor brand Moutai and Liege Airport.

Job seekers, who were dressed up and well-prepared, showcased their language skills to increase their opportunities.

Robert Summerscales was a Chinese major postgraduate who had an exchange experience in Hong Kong five years ago. He expected to go back to China as an employee.

“I prefer to work in a Chinese context, in Chinese company or in a Western company doing business with China. I want to keep using my Chinese and the best way to do that I think is finding a job where I can use it,” he said.

“I’m looking for something in China, and I’ve lived in China for at least 18 months, so I know how it is to live there.”

Agbenda Nikaa, a Belgian in her first-year master’s degree program for Chinese-French-English translation, said she attended the job fair to make better preparation for seeking jobs in the future.

“I’ve been to China and I like the country so I would like to try to work there, and even would live there if possible,” she said.

“Thanks to the ChinaCareers Event, we want to help students and young talents to connect to Belgian and Chinese companies, to help them access the Belgian-Chinese labor market and promote intercultural business exchanges,” said Kevin Harrings, a management assistant of BCECC.

He said it was a great opportunity for companies to reach out to a different audience than usual, increase their brand awareness and promote their activities.
Li Qian is a senior engineer in PEC, a Belgian company offering test and manufacturing solutions for energy storage devices. It’s the third time for her employer to recruit talents in the ChinaCareers job fair.

Li said the company has vacancies this year for mechanical, software and electronic engineer positions at both its headquarters in Belgium and branch in Shanghai, China.

“We want talents with multiple backgrounds, because proficiency in Chinese and professional ability are both required to do international business with Chinese,” Li said.

According to Zhang Dongqing, the cargo development manager at Liege Airport, the recent investment of Alibaba in Liege has encouraged more Belgian enterprises to develop Chinese markets, so more of their partners crave talents from China or are interested in working with China.

Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant, signed a memorandum of understanding with Belgium in December to establish its first European e-commerce trade hub in Liege with an initial investment of 75 million euros ($85 million).

The project is part of the China-Belgium trade cooperation. Among EU countries, Belgium is China’s sixth-largest trading partner, sixth-largest export market and seventh-largest source of imports.

Bilateral trade between the countries has exceeded $30 billion at its peak. By August 2018, Belgium set up 1,068 projects in China, with an actual investment of $1.94 billion, mainly in the chemical, pharmaceutical, electrical equipment and other industries.

Cao Zhongming, the Chinese ambassador to Belgium, believes China-Belgium cooperation contributes to economic development, creates jobs and brings tangible benefits to the local people.

China is carrying out a series of measures to boost opening-up, including further reducing the negative list for foreign investment and strengthening the protection of copyright.

“In the context of the current complex international situation, China and Belgium can strengthen communication and cooperation, making more contributions to the world,” Cao said on Wednesday in a conversation with students at the HEC Liege, the business school at the University of Liege.

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