By WANG YING in Shanghai | China Daily
China and the European Union have massive opportunities for cooperation on green development in wide-ranging areas. [Photo/CFP]
China and the European Union have massive opportunities for cooperation on green development in wide-ranging areas, including carbon neutrality, environmental governance, energy transition and green technology innovation, said speakers at a Sino-EU forum on Wednesday.
Jointly hosted by the China Europe International Business School and the EU-China Business Association, the 8th Europe Forum took place simultaneously in Brussels and Shanghai, and focused on the theme China-Europe Cooperation on Decarbonization.
Both China and the EU cherish the same goals of making a green transition toward the future and growing close bilateral economic relations, speakers said.
"China and the EU share a mutual target of making the transformation to a green future, which has bright prospects for bilateral collaboration," said Wang Hongjian, a senior diplomat in the Chinese Mission to the EU, in his speech in Brussels.
The High-level Environment and Climate Dialogue between China and the EU has been held three times, and this platform should be used by both parties to lead the multilevel green cooperation, he said.
Wang Hong, president and professor of management with the CEIBS, said China and Europe are important economic and trade partners and major economies－and their carbon neutrality targets present massive room for cooperation and promotion of mutual interests.
Both China and the EU have huge budgets for achieving their carbon neutrality goals. "China is committed to peaking carbon emissions by 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2060. In recent years, China has made huge strides toward the carbon neutrality goal, and it is estimated that the country's investment in low-carbon development will be more than 100 trillion yuan ($14.37 trillion) in the next 30 years," she said.
The Next Generation EU, a historic stimulus package for 2021-27, worth 1.8 trillion euros ($1.79 trillion) in 2018, would set aside at least 37 percent of the recovery fund for green transition, Wang Hong said.
Jochum Haakma, chairman of the EU-China Business Association, said China has overtaken the US to become the EU's biggest trading partner in 2020, and bilateral trade and collaboration have not seen any major setback due to COVID-19.
Despite the contagion, the value of trade between China and the EU reached 588 billion euros in 2020, and exceeded 600 billion euros in 2021, showing strong bilateral trade demand, said Haakma.
Investment has grown as well. Direct investment from China in the EU rose from 6.5 billion euros in 2020 to 9 billion euros in 2021. Most of the Chinese investment has been made in sectors like energy, infrastructure, consumer products and autos, which also contributed to the EU's low-carbon sector development, Haakma said.
With mutual goals of promoting green development and playing a bigger role in climate change, the EU and China need each other as both sides are major trade partners and can combat climate change together, said Gwenn Sonck, executive director of the EU-China Business Association and the Flanders-China Chamber of Commerce.
According to Sonck, European enterprises in China have already taken cooperative action, as a report by the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China revealed in May.
The report found that 67 percent of European companies operating in China are already pursuing carbon neutrality, and 40 percent have established China-focused decarbonization teams.