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Cooperation with China to improve energy efficiency in industry

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By finding common ground and shared incentives, the European Commission and China are working together to improve industrial efficiency. Having already agreed on numerous cooperation themes, this collaboration will increase market access and decrease greenhouse gases.

The European Commission and China are cooperating to move towards a low-carbon and resource-efficient economy. As part of the process, a specific working group was established in 2010 to improve industrial energy efficiency and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The three main areas of collaboration are: sector-based energy efficiency actions in industry, product policy (notably eco-design) and a sustainable industrial policy. The main objectives are levelling the playing field for energy-intensive industries and promoting fair and reciprocal market access for energy efficiency-related products. The global market for environmental goods and services is estimated to be around €1 000 billion per annum – and this is expected to double or even triple by 2020.

In October 2012, the third meeting of the ‘Industrial Energy Efficiency & Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction’ Working Group was held in China. During the plenary session, which was chaired by Vice-Minister of the Chinese Ministry for Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) and Director-General Daniel Calleja of the EC’s Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry, the Working Group detailed potential collaboration agreement areas. These areas included:

  1. Measurement of CO2 emissions: cooperation will be stepped up to ensure the implementation of existing international protocols on the measurement of emissions from energy-intensive sectors such as steel and cement.
  2. Capacity for energy management: support for the ongoing use of existing schemes, such as the European Eco-Management and Audit Scheme, or EMAS, to build capacity for energy management.
  3. Eco-design: recognition of the high added value of cooperation in this area, with more project proposals to be presented in 2013.
  4. Remanufacturing: exploring opportunities for a circular economy, starting with defining the scope and impact of remanufacturing, and exchanging information on policies and regulations already adopted or currently being elaborated.
  5. Solid waste: MIIT will be involved in the EU solid waste cooperation project.
  6. Cataloguing existing projects: identifying and making better use of synergies between projects such as Asia Switch Projects or the United Nations Development Programme’s ‘Low Emission Capacity Building Programme’.
  7. Industrial energy efficiency area: the energy efficiency market offers great potential for both parties by ensuring fair and reciprocal market access for energy efficiency-related products and technologies.
  8. Market conditions: creating market conditions in China that allow for viable business models for companies in various sectors.

MIIT will also advance a proposal for collaboration on EU-China Green Business Development’, initial elements of which were presented during the meeting. Both sides agreed that in 2013, the scope and depth of discussions would intensify on all three areas of collaboration.

European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani, responsible for industry and entrepreneurship, welcomed this cooperation: ‘We wish to enable European enterprises, in particular SMEs, to tap the huge potential of energy-efficient products. We still have some work ahead to realise the market’s full potential, but our cooperation in this field is a first important step to help both EU and Chinese enterprises.  It is vital that Europe quickly moves on from the current crisis and that we explore all options to return Europe to growth’.


For more information on the European Commission and China, please visit:

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