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Following the successful series of visits in key emerging economies to foster industrial cooperation and business opportunities, Vice-President of the European Commission Antonio Tajani and European Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potočnik have led a "Mission for Green Growth" to China on July 18 and 19, 2013. They were accompanied by 59 European and national industry associations and companies to discuss regulatory challenges in the Chinese market and to articulate EU best practices in improving the business environment, in particular for SMEs.
Antonio Tajani, Miao Wei, Chinese Minister for Industry and Information Technology, and Janez Potočnik (from left to right)
The Mission's overall objective was to enhance European industry's growth and competitiveness by better exploiting business opportunities in the green sectors. The joint presence of the two Commissioners underlines the serious commitment and belief of the European Union that growth and environmental protection are compatible and integrated concepts.
Promoting sustainable growth
One important aspect of the visit was intensifying the EU/China co-operation 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. Its three main areas of collaboration are: sector-based energy efficiency actions in industry, product policy (notably eco-design) and sustainable industrial policy. To reaffirm the already fruitful achievements, a Joint Statement seeks to foster cooperation on industrial policy, green growth, SME policy and raw materials.
Business delegation profile
59 companies and business federations
From 17 EU Member States
€ 233 billion combined turnover
740.000 combined employees
20 million companies represented
Enhanced cooperation on Sustainable Tourism from which both sides will gain from enhanced tourist flows was also agreed. The focus is on the promotion of tourism flows between the EU and China.
"Green growth is high on the political agendas of the EU and China – both are interested in achieving sustainable growth while maintaining and improving the state of their respective environments. This is a win-win situation for businesses on both sides and for the climate. " VP Tajani
Helping EU companies and in particular SMEs to operate in China
It was also agreed to reinforce the already fruitful cooperation between Chinese authorities and the European Commission through existing regulatory dialogues, which 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. During his meeting with the Minister for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, Zhi Shuping, Vice-President Tajani talked about market surveillance and the fight against counterfeiting. Vice-President Tajani stressed the importance of promoting quality and safety to improve competitiveness. In this context he illustrated the new EU proposed regulation to improve market surveillance and traceability.
It was agreed to further strengthen standardisation cooperation, to enhance the system of exchange of information on product safety as well as to reaffirm the good cooperation on product safety conformity assessment.
Signing ceremony of partnership agreements between EU-Chinese companies
In particular, both sides will intensify cooperation in the areas of product risk assessment and management, market surveillance and standards convergence and will extend the number and the standard information of products covered by the China-Europe Standardisation Information (CESIP). This platform gives businesses information about standards applicable to traded products and as such 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. Cooperation on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) will also be strengthened.
Promoting EU-China business contacts
A matchmaking event with local entrepreneurs took place, in particular for companies operating in the air quality, water, waste, energy efficient and environmentally friendly technologies sectors. More than 325 Business to Business meetings took place, clustered around the theme "green growth". The event was attended by 102 Chinese companies from all over China. This was possible thanks to the support of the EU SME Centre and the Enterprise Europe Network - the world's largest business support network, providing 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.
145 European and Chinese companies participated in a matchmaking session to foster business partnerships in China's green technology sector
- Letter of intent on continued and strengthened co-operation regarding the common, bilingual, web-based Information Project "CESIP- China/Europe Standardisation Information Platform" between the European Commission and the Standardization Administration of the People's Republic of China
- Joint statement on continued and enhanced cooperation and exchange of information within the consultation mechanism on industrial products and WTO/TBT between the Enterprise and Industry Directorate-General of the European Commission and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the People's Republic of China
- Joint statement from the European Commission and the National Tourism Administration of the People's Republic of China on cooperation in the field of sustainable tourism
- Joint statement on the dialogue and consultation mechanism between the Enterprise and Industry Directorate-General of the European Commission and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the People's Republic of China
18 July - Beijing
19 July - Beijing
Euronews coverage (video)
Exchange of signatures between Miao Wei, Chinese Minister for Industry and Information Technology, on the right, and Antonio Tajani
The Mission for Growth started in Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City (economic capital of Vietnam) on 12 November.
The business delegation was represented by 40 companies and business federations, 16 of which were small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), from 17 EU Member States. The combined turnover of the companies joining this mission was of € 262 billion representing, in absolute terms, more than the GDP of Denmark which is € 245 billion. The workforce of the companies was of nearly 1 million employees. The participating Associations represented more than 20 million companies with a combined turnover of more than € 750 billion and employing 120 million people.
During the visit, Vice-President Antonio Tajani inaugurated the EU–Vietnam Business Network. Afterwards, 100 business representatives from the EU and EU companies already active in Vietnam discussed the business conditions in Vietnam. A matchmaking event brought together about 100 companies from the EU and from Vietnam.
Vice-President Tajani met the Chairman of the Peoples Committee of Ho Chi Minh City who expressed his interest in an EU oriented economic policy. During this occasion, business Representatives had the chance to ask questions.
On 13 November, the Mission continued in Vietnam's capital Hanoi where Vice President Tajani met the Prime Minister and three Ministers (Ministry of Industry and Trade, Minister of Culture, Sport and Tourism, Minister of Planning and Investment).
Participants discussed with the ministers: favourable business conditions, questions on foreign direct investment, new operating licences, SME support and tourism policy.
Discussion between Nguyễn Tấn Dũng, Vietnamese Prime Minister,
|Handshake between Hoàng Tuấn Anh, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism
and Antonio Tajani, following the signing of the letter of intent
Meeting in the presence of Bùi Quang Vinh, Vietnamese Minister for Planning and Investment, on the right, and Antonio Tajani, on the left
Vice-President Tajani closed also the 15th Eco Innovation Forum organised by DG Environment and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on the same day in Hanoi. The Eco Innovation Forum gathered European and Asian actors, including business representatives, to explore solutions to enhance the sustainability of food supply chains.
During the mission, Vice-President Tajani expressed the intention to follow-up by:
- the implementation of the Letters of Intents;
- the organisation of a follow-up mission focused mainly on agri-food sector and cosmetics;
- supporting work of the EU-Vietnam Business network to develop further exchanges between EU- funded support services in Europe and Asia, notably also through the development of an ASEAN web platform that should contribute to better coordination.
Documents Signed in Vietnam:
- List of participants (countries, companies, sectors)
Vice-President Tajani was accompanied by a business delegation of more than 90 companies and business federations, 25 of which were small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), from 16 EU Member States.
All together they represented a turnover of 475 billion Euro, and an employment of nearly 2 million people, which is comparable to the GDP of Finland, Denmark and Slovenia together. If we take into account also the major Business Organizations attending this Forum the employment represented is more than 120 million people.
Press conference with local, European and international press
After Vietnam, Vice-President Antonio Tajani's delegation participated in the EU-Myanmar Task Force. Its main aim was to support and foster Myanmar's transition process by drawing on the full range of the EU's resources in both public and private sectors. This "economics-meets-politics" Task Force was led by High Representative Ashton and U Shoe Tane, coordinating minister for economic development with the participation of 3 other Commissioners (Tajani, Piebalgs, Ciolos) and a delegation of Members of the European Parliament (lead by the Vice-President Isabelle Durant).
Myanmar Task Force Business Forum Plenary session
Vice-President Tajani promoted the EU industrial policy, the internationalization of SMEs, closer tourism co-operation and encouraged the intensification of both side business relations.
The Vice-President was accompanied by more than 130 participants from 16 EU Member States. The visit started in Yangon where VP Tajani co-chaired the Business Forum Opening and Plenary Session.
The delegation was well balanced between small, medium and big size companies. There was also a strong presence of business organizations and business national representatives. Total number of participants in the Business Forum from both sides was around 300, and to the overall event 700 (including the Development Forum and the Democracy & Civil Society Forums).
In the morning, the Business participants took part in working groups on five different economic areas: tourism; agri-business; manufactured goods; energy and infrastructure and business environment support services. The main conclusions of the working groups were reported next day during the economic session of the Task Force in Nay Pi Taw.
In Yangon Vice-President Tajani had a bilateral encounter with Aung Suun Suu Kyi after her intervention during the last part of Business Forum. They exchanged views on the economic and political situation in presence of European media.
Bilateral encounter with Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Aung San Suu Kyi
The B2B events took place in the afternoon of the first day in Yangon. Around 80 European and Myanmar companies participated in the matchmaking activities with more than 200 bilateral encounters. They also had the possibility to join the meetings with ministers in Nay Pi Taw or undertake manufacture visits around Yangon. Out of the 700 overall participants present at the Task Force in Yangon, 220 were "chartered" for further political meetings in the newly built capital Nay Pi Taw.
In Nay Pyi Taw, a meeting with President Thein Sein and with a relevant representation of European CEOs took place in the presidential palace. This was an opportunity to have an open discussion with the leader of the country on the prospective for the economic and political reforms. Last part of the visit in Myanmar was dedicated to a series of bilateral Ministerial meetings between Vice-President Tajani and the Minister of Tourism (Htay Aung), Construction (Kyaw Lwin) and Science and Technology (Ko Ko Oo). Main messages conveyed from both sides were the readiness to engage in further co-operation. VP Tajani emphasized the importance to have a follow-up industrial mission, next year, focused on three/four industrial sectors. He also suggested to the Minister of Science & Technology to organize a joint event on space policy in the framework of the ASEAN presidency to be held by Myanmar in 2015.
Signing ceremony of Letters of Intent
The Task Force in Myanmar demonstrated the clear will of the current government to pursue the necessary economic and democratic reforms ahead of the 2015 elections. It gave the participants the occasion to hear the eloquent plea of Aung San Suu Chi for business investments in support of a transition towards a government 'chosen by the people'. It showed the huge development opportunities of this country bordering 500 million consumers, but also its immense challenges in education, infrastructure and productivity.
Vice-President Antonio Tajani promised a follow up mission concentrated on a few sectors in 2014.
Documents signed in Myanmar:
- List of participants (countries, companies and sectors)
Vice-President Tajani came to Thailand as the last stop of his Mission for Growth to Vietnam, Myanmar and Thailand on 16 November. He was accompanied by a business delegation of 40 companies and business federationsfrom 15 EU Member States. The combined turnover of the companies joining this mission was of € 420 billion representing, in absolute terms, more than the GDP of Finland, Ireland and Croatia together which is € 402 billion (2012). The workforce of the companies was of nearly 2 million employees. The participating Associations represented more than 30 million EU companies with a combined turnover of more than € 55 billion and employing more than 120 million people.
|Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan, |
Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Commerce,
on the left, and Antonio Tajani
He met with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce, in presence of the participants in the Mission for Growth. They discussed enhanced cooperation in industrial policy, the situation of Small and Medium Enterprises in Thailand and in the EU, as well as investment policy. Moreover, views on the tourism policy and the EU visa policy were exchanged. Both sides also mentioned the negotiations of a Free Trade Agreement and expressed hope that these negotiations could be concluded rapidly.
Afterwards Vice President Tajani signed a Letter of Intent on SME policy with the Thai Minister of Industry and a Letter of Intent on sustainable tourism with the Thai Minister of tourism and sports.
from left to right: Antonio Tajani,
Prasert Boonchaisuk, Thai Minister for Industry and
Somsak Pureesrisak, Thai Minister for Tourism and Sports
A lunch organised by the European ASEAN Business Center permitted participants in the Mission for Growth to meet European Enterprises already active in Thailand and Thai Entrepreneurs. Vice-President Tajani gave a key note speech during this lunch on how to support European enterprises in Thailand and answered questions from participants.
In the afternoon the Thai authorities presented Thailand's investment situation to the participants. A matchmaking brought about 40 EU and Thai companies together to explore business opportunities.
Many participants in the Mission for Growth expressed their satisfaction with the Mission and the different angles it had offered to them in the three countries visited.
Documents signed in Thailand:
- Letter of Intent on a SME policy dialogue
- List of participants (countries, companies and sectors)