Belgian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce (BCECC)

The BCECC ushers in Year of the Dragon with Chinese Ambassador and Governor of Antwerp


The Belgian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce (BCECC) joyously welcomed the start of the Chinese Year of the Wood Dragon in the esteemed company of Chinese Ambassador H.E. Cao Zhongming and Governor of the Province of Antwerp, Cathy Berx, accompanied by a special video message from Belgian Prime Minister H.E. Alexander De Croo on 8 February 2024.

Over 280 esteemed guests enjoyed a delightful evening of conviviality and networking set against the beautiful backdrop of the Africa Palace in Tervuren, mingling with other high-level officials, business representatives, academics and members of the press.

Chairman Bernard Dewit underscored the significance of fostering connections between Belgium and China, as well as Europe and China. The symbolic importance of Prime Minister De Croo and Minister of Foreign Affairs Lahbib’s visit signifies a positive trajectory for our bilateral diplomatic relations. Dewit mentioned that the Chamber was honored to be able to contribute to their visit by preparing a business delegation and hosting a fruitful business event with the CCPIT in Beijing.

Prime Minister De Croo expressed gratitude to BCECC for their support during the recent visit during his video message. He emphasized 2024 as an opportune year to cultivate partnerships, reaffirming the robust ties between Belgium and China. Stressing the importance of mutual understanding and interpersonal connections amidst turbulent times, De Croo advocated for resolving issues through candid dialogue.

Ambassador Cao Zhongming cited resilience in Belgian-Chinese trade and investment relations, mentioning enhanced cooperation in logistics, healthcare, and the chemical industry. However, he cautioned against the pitfalls of “de-risking,” emphasizing the detrimental impact of protectionist measures on mutual interests.

Governor of Antwerp Province Cathy Berx cautioned against one-sided and negative portrayals of China, emphasizing the need for nuanced discussions to address issues like trade imbalances without undermining fruitful collaborations, such as the longstanding ties between Antwerp Province and Shaanxi Province. She expressed gratitude to Ambassador Cao Zhongming for their effective cooperation during his tenure in Belgium.

Special thanks to our sponsors Aprojects, Bank of China, CCPIT, China Telecom, Cosco Shipping Lines, EU Reporter, Kweichow Moutai and Hainan Airlines for their contributions in ensuring the success of the event.

Prime Minister De Croo’s video message can be consulted here. CCTV featured our Chinese New Year’s Reception in their news broadcast: please click here to watch the video from 02:40 onwards. To read the Chinese Embassy’s article about our event, please click here.