China a vital market for Europe's companies

10.28.2022

China remains a key market for European companies as its economic resilience and large domestic market are vital for them to stay globally competitive, according to a survey released on Monday by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.

About 19 percent of European companies said that they have expanded their production and business scale in China, while 65 percent said that they have maintained their current operational scale, according to the study.

The survey interviewed nearly 160 European companies on issues related to their business outlook, investment climate and market conditions in the first half of 2022. The vast majority of European multinationals are confident in the prospects of the Chinese market, said Sun Xiao, spokesman for the Beijing-based CCPIT. For instance, European aircraft manufacturer Airbus SE launched a new research center in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, in June, to focus on research for its futuristic hydrogen-powered aircraft. German chemical group BASF SE gave the green light for the construction of its planned Verbund site chemical production project in Zhanjiang, Guangdong province, in July.

In addition to implementing a new negative list for foreign investment to further broaden market access, the government abolished, revised or enacted 520 regulations to improve the legal environment for foreign investment. The government also ramped up efforts to ensure the legitimate rights and interests of foreign businesses, the Ministry of Commerce said last week.

China’s advantages, including a complete industrial system, a lucrative market, social stability, and positive long-term economic fundamentals, as well as the smooth operation of China-Europe freight train services, have created a solid foundation for the growth of European companies, said Sang Baichuan, dean of the Institute of International Economy at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.

«In the context of market demand, supply chain stability, global companies’ existing footprint, current growth in China or their future development strategy, China-EU or China-US decoupling is not realistic. Any such course would likely harm either side,» he said.

Trade between China and the European Union grew by 8.9 percent on a yearly basis to 3.23 trillion yuan ($466.79 billion) in the first seven months of 2022, statistics from the General Administration of Customs showed.

Meanwhile, as this year marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the Republic of Korea, Sun, spokesman of the CCPIT, stressed that the economic and trade cooperation between the two countries is highly complementary and has huge potential.

«Against the backdrop of multiple risks such as international geopolitical conflicts, slowing global economic growth, continued spread of the epidemic and anti-globalization, companies from the two sides should jointly maintain the stability of industrial and supply chains, maintain regional market opening, and strengthen anti-epidemic cooperation,» said Sun, who is also the secretary-general of the China Chamber of International Commerce.

With China and the ROK making substantial progress on the second phase of their free trade agreement negotiations, Sun said that business communities of the two countries have broad prospects for cooperation in economy and trade, especially in the areas of the digital and marine economy, green innovation and industrial and supply chains. Ko Kwang-ho, president of the China unit of Seoul-headquartered Korean Air Co, the largest airline by fleet size in the ROK, said the company expects to expand routes between China and the ROK, upgrade services and expand cooperation with Chinese airlines in the coming years.

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