China-CEEC trade booming with bright prospects
People's Daily Online

Visitors taste Hungarian wine at the second China-Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC) Expo in Ningbo, east China's Zhejiang Province, June 9, 2021. (Photo: Xinhua)

NINGBO, June 11 (Xinhua) -- As a stage to promote economic and trade cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs), the second China-CEEC Expo &International Consumer Goods Fair was held in Ningbo, east China's Zhejiang Province.

The four-day event, which kicked off on Tuesday, attracted some 300 enterprises from CEECs and more than 7,000 buyers.

The expo is becoming a trade propeller between China and CEECs, providing opportunities for exhibitors and buyers from home and abroad.

On Wednesday, business talks were held between two Romanian enterprises and their Chinese counterparts via an online meeting at Ningbo International Convention and Exhibition Center.

"Although the pandemic prevented many Romanian enterprises from coming to the expo, it does not dampen their enthusiasm for the Chinese market," said Robert Mitrofan with UPR Business Romania, who took part in the meeting.

Bringing with them commodities like wine, mineral water, and snacks, the enterprises are queuing up for online negotiations with Chinese buyers, he said.

At a signing ceremony, 26 purchase deals worth nearly 2.19 billion yuan (about 342.71 million U.S. dollars) were signed, involving Chinese importers from Shanghai, Zhejiang, Shandong, and Hunan.

The deals cover products like frozen beef, dairy products, copper, timber, car parts and turbines.

China and CEECs have witnessed accelerated trade growth since the establishment of the China-CEEC cooperation mechanism in 2012.

Trade between the two sides grew at an average annual pace of 8 percent from 2012 to 2020.

Trade between China and CEECs jumped 50.2 percent year on year to 30.13 billion U.S. dollars in the first quarter of 2021, data from the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) showed.

China and CEECs deepened cooperation in a wide range of fields. To date, two-way investment has reached nearly 20 billion U.S. dollars. More than 12,400 China-Europe freight train trips were made in 2020, a year-on-year increase of 50 percent.

The potential of the Chinese market and the optimized business environment have injected more impetus and vitality into China-CEEC economic and trade cooperation.

China's opening-up momentum boosted the confidence of foreign enterprises. It is especially the case for small and medium-sized enterprises in CEECs impacted by the epidemic, said Dejan Marinkovic, consul general of Serbia to Shanghai.

"We believe our sales in China will keep growing. In the future, we will bring more Romanian products to China offline and online, so that more Chinese consumers will know us," Robert said.

For Susan Huang with Ningbo Kevi Trade, the huge potential of China's market for rescue and fire fighting equipment is a real prospect, thanks to China's improved concept of emergency management.

"Even at 3,000 to 4,000 yuan each, we sell over 10,000 fire helmets from Poland in China every year," she said.

Looking ahead, more and more experts pointed out the rosy prospects for China-CEEC economic ties.

The supply and industrial chains of the two sides are complementary, which leads to positive prospects, said Ren Hongbin, assistant minister of commerce.

According to Liu Zuokui, deputy director of the Institute of European Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the cooperation between China and CEECs has gradually changed from top-down promotion at the national level to bottom-up promotion with participation from diverse fields.

Bilateral cooperation and also the cooperation among CEECs will benefit from this transformation, said Liu.