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European Commission


Brussels, 18 July 2013

EU and China together explore the benefits of green growth

Business opportunities from resource efficient production is the focus of today’s visit to China by European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, and Janez Potočnik, Commissioner for Environment. Green growth is now high on the political agenda for the EU and China – both are interested in achieving sustainable growth while maintaining and improving the state of their respective environments. The global market for green goods and services is currently estimated at around €1 000 billion per annum, and this is expected to double by 2020. This year the European Union and China are celebrating the 10th anniversary of their Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and “Green Growth” has been proposed both as a key topic for the upcoming EU-Summit and for this Mission for Growth.

The Chinese government is committed to support environmental protection and sustainable growth. In this respect, the EU’s industry and its well-developed expertise on environmentally friendly products and services has a lot to offer. The participation of EU companies active in the “environmental” sectors in this 'Mission for Green Growth' proves there is considerable potential for business opportunities.

Vice-President Tajani and Commissioner Potočnik, accompanied by 59 European and national industry associations and companies, will discuss regulatory challenges in the Chinese market and articulate EU best practices in improving the business environment, in particular for SMEs.

The Mission’s overall objective is to enhance European industry’s growth and competitiveness by better exploiting the growth potential of non-EU countries - in this case the growing economy of China. It also aims to reinforce economic co-operation and helping EU companies to access the Chinese market. Three more specific objectives are as follows:

(1) Promoting sustainable and inclusive growth on both sides

During the visit, Vice President Tajani and Commissioner Potocnik will discuss with Chinese Vice-Premier MA Kai on how to step up cooperation on green growth.

By finding common ground and shared incentives, the European Commission and China are working together to improve industrial energy efficiency and decrease greenhouse gases, while gaining market share for environmentally friendly products and services. As part of this process, a specific working group was already established in 2010 with the Chinese Ministry of industry and technology cooperation. Its three main areas of collaboration are: sector-based energy efficiency actions in industry, product policy (notably eco-design) and sustainable industrial policy. It is hoped that this collaboration can be further developed.

Vice President Tajani will also sign a Joint Statement on tourism with the Vice-Chairman of the Chinese National Tourism administration. His objective is to start cooperation in this important area - relatively new to China - from which both sides will stand to gain from enhanced tourist flows.

Vice President Tajani will also meet with Minister Wan Gang, responsible for Science and Technology, to discuss cooperation in the field of space and possible future cooperation on clusters.

(2) Helping EU companies and in particular SMEs to operate in China

VP Tajani will also hold discussions with his counterparts, Minister Miao, responsible for Industry and Information Technology, and Minister Zhi Shuping, Responsible for the Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine. He will sign Joint Statements with them to reinforce the already fruitful cooperation between these administrations and the European Commission through existing regulatory dialogues. These dialogues promote cooperation and mutual understanding in industrial and SME policy and greater convergence of technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment’. The ultimate objective is to reduce costs for companies and increase productivity for businesses on both sides.

In October 2012 a web-based tool “CESIP”, the China-Europe Standardisation Information Platform was launched. It gives businesses information about standards applicable to highly traded regulated products and so helps SMEs to internationalise. CESIP provides valuable, bi-lingual information to Chinese and European businesses on everything from technical regulations to market access requirements, including details on thousands of standards. During the visit Vice President Tajani and Minister Zhi Shuping will commit to further develop this platform.

During the visit, EU companies will have a first-hand demonstration of the EU services already available to help them operate in China - namely the China SME IPR Helpdesk and the EU SME Center - via presentations and one to one consultations. Cooperation on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) will be strengthened through the new project "IP Key". This project follows previous similar successful projects that contribute to the development of the intellectual property system in China and to the mutual understanding in these matters.

(3) Promoting EU-China business contacts and opportunitie

A matchmaking event with local entrepreneurs will take place on 19 July 2013, in particular for companies operating in the air quality, water, waste, energy efficient and environmentally friendly technologies sectors. This is possible thanks to the support of the EU SME Centre and the Enterprise Europe Network - the world's largest business support network, providing provides free basic service to SME clients to support their expansion into new markets and to improve their competitive position. The Enterprise Europe Network has recently expanded its coverage in China. It now has five consortia covering Central, South East, North East, West, and East China.

European and Chinese companies are increasingly interested in the opportunities presented by these sectors. In May 2012 the signature of the EU/China Urbanisation Partnership helped provide business opportunities for relevant EU companies: those with the capacity to respond to the increased demand for sustainable technologies and products stemming from China's rapid urbanisation.

(4) Addressing the environmental challenges of the EU–China cooperation

The mission for green growth will also provide an opportunity to identify and address concrete environmental challenges in the context of the EU-China relations. In the frame of the 5th EU-China Policy Dialogue on Environment, Commissioner Potočnik and Zhou Shengxian, Minister of Environmental Protection, will exchange views on recent developments on environmental policies in China and in the EU.

The Commissioner and the Minister will also launch the EU China Environmental Sustainability Project. The purpose of this project is to support the Chinese authorities in their efforts of achieving environmental sustainability by reducing water and heavy metal pollution and implementing sustainable waste policies

The 4th EU-China Policy Dialogue on Environment, between Minister Zhou and Commissioner Potočnik was held in Brussels in February 2012. The key conclusion of that meeting was the agreement to continue promoting green growth domestically as well as internationally and to strengthen bilateral cooperation.

As the European Union and China cooperate on a number of environmental policy areas, Commissioner Potočnik will meet with counterparts from other ministries dealing with environmental matters, including the Ministry of Water Resources and the State Forestry Authority.

The Commissioner will also meet with representatives of EU funded environment and environmental NGOs based in Beijing.

The EU welcomes collaboration with China in the follow-up to Rio+20 and in joint efforts to attain a balanced, global transition to an inclusive Green Economy. Several new cooperation projects are about to be launched with China on environmental sustainability, sustainable urbanisation and on emissions trading.

Data on China

Surface Area9.327,5 103 sq. km

Population:  1354.0 million (2012)

GDP in 2012: € 8.227 billion (estimates after 2012)

Chinese GDP per capita in 2012: € 6.075,9 (estimates after 2012)

GDP by sector in 2011 (Value added, % of GDP): Industry (46,6%); Services (43,3%); Agriculture (10,0%)

EU exports in goods to China in 2012: € 143.8 billion

Chinese exports in goods to the EU in 2012: € 289.7 billion

EU commercial services exports to China in 2011: € 26.2 billion

Chinese commercial services exports to the EU in 2011: € 18.3 billion

The EU is China’s biggest trading partner, with total trade of €433.6bil in 2012. China is the EU’s second biggest trading partner (after the US). Europe is one of the top-five sources of FDI to China: €17.8 bn in 2011, but accounts for only 2.1% of the total EU FDI outflows. Although expanding, Chinese investment in Europe only accounted for €3.1bn in 2011, about 5% of Chinese total FDI stock abroad.

EU imports from China are dominated by industrial and consumer goods: machinery and equipment, footwear and clothing, furniture, lamps and toys. EU exports to China are concentrated on machinery and equipment, motor vehicles, aircraft, and chemicals.

Missions for Growth

This mission is part of the series of "Missions for Growth" to help European enterprises, in particular small and medium sized enterprises, to better profit from fast growing international markets. The Mission’s overall objective is the enhancement of the growth and competitiveness of European industry by better exploiting growth potential in non-EU countries via the reinforcement of economic co-operation and reforms, helping EU companies to access the Chinese market, as well as deepening of bilateral policy co-operation in various policy fields.

Information for EU companies on business in China

More information on the Mission for Growth to China

Missions for Growth

EU & China – Enterprise and Industry initiatives on Europa

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