Germany, Europe seek stronger China ties

24th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

24 November 2004 , HAMBURG - Top Chinese and European business and political leaders are in the northern German port city of Hamburg for the first-ever "China Meets Europe" conference, which gets underway Thursday. Running November 25 to 27 under the banner "The Hamburg Summit", the Chinese-European parley will be taking place as the Asian giant continues its drive towards becoming an economic superpower, underscored by skyrocketing growth in trade relations. Dozens of CEOs and political leaders will discu

24 November 2004

HAMBURG - Top Chinese and European business and political leaders are in the northern German port city of Hamburg for the first-ever "China Meets Europe" conference, which gets underway Thursday.

Running November 25 to 27 under the banner "The Hamburg Summit", the Chinese-European parley will be taking place as the Asian giant continues its drive towards becoming an economic superpower, underscored by skyrocketing growth in trade relations.

Dozens of CEOs and political leaders will discuss China's role in world politics and the global economy, take a look at some of the new Chinese leaders, and examine developments in such industries as energy, automobiles, consumer products and private sector investments.

Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan will be leading the list of Chinese participants, with others including Minsheng Bank founder Liu Yong- hao, Cosco Group president Capt. Wei Jiafu, China Economic Cooperation Centre's Cao Baijun, and Yan Lan, chairperson of the leading private media group Sun Media Investment Holdings.

The list of participants also includes such notables as former Singapore leader Lee Kuan Yew, former West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, Nobel Prize laureate Robert Mundell, Hamburg First Mayor Ole von Beust, German Interior Minister Otto Schily, and Klaus Ebermann, head of the EU Delegation to China.

Among the European business executives present will be Marcus Wallenberg, president of the Swedish firm Investor AB, Juergen Fitschen of Deutsche Bank, Andreas Kreimeyer, the BASF board member for Asia, and Peter Cornelius, chief economist of Royal Dutch/Shell.

"No other China-Europe conference has brought so many top-level Chinese officials to Europe, no other has convened so many outstanding speakers," said Nikolaus W. Schues, a Hamburg shipping company owner and former president of the city's Chamber of Commerce.

"This summit will be a benchmark for any other China-oriented conference," he predicted.
The conference comes at a time of dynamic expansion of trade between China and the European Union, which as a group is poised to become the top trading partner with the Chinese in 2005, according to EU official Franz Jessen.

And within the EU, Germany looms large as China's major trade partner.

According to the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden, in the first half of 2004, China was Germany's tenth-biggest export market, buying goods worth EUR 10.9 billion up 27 percent on the first half of last year.

At the same time, Germany imported EUR 13.9 billion worth of goods from China in the first half of this year, up 19.6 percent, putting China in sixth place on the list of Germany import partners.

For its part, the city of Hamburg, with its Elbe River port serving as Germany's foreign trade "gateway", is mindful of its own pre-eminent position in trade with China, going back to 1731 when the first Chinese vessel laden with goods arrived in the city.

Today, according conference hosts the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, some 320 Chinese firms are based in Hamburg, more than in any other European city.

Hamburg - dubbed "Hanbao", or "the castle of the Chinese" - has maintained a "sister-city" partnership with Shanghai since 1986. The city's port handles more than 40 percent of all of China's exports to Germany, according to chamber official Angelika Franke.

DPA

Subject: German news 

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