EU-China ties important for pandemic-hit world economy: Joerg Wuttke
A European Union (EU) business leader has expressed optimism for China's economic outlook and underscored the importance of EU-China ties as COVID-19 has cast a shadow over the global economy.
In an interview with Xinhua, Joerg Wuttke, president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, said the virtual meeting between EU and Chinese leaders on Sept. 14 was very important and encouraging, as it sent a message that both sides are looking to deepen cooperation amid the pandemic.
Wuttke said China, once hit hard by COVID-19, was first to emerge from the crisis with effective anti-virus measures. He said that if the EU and China recover quickly, this can have a positive impact on the global economy.
"The world is not in good shape right now, so, as two global economic heavyweights, how Europe and China manage their own respective crises can impact other parts of the world," said the business leader.
"China will stand for 30 percent of global growth in GDP in the next 10 years," Wuttke said, adding that global companies need to have a presence in the Chinese market, which cannot be replaced.
The president noted that most EU companies have suffered from shrinking demand due to the virus, but some firms in the automotive, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries have benefited from booming Chinese consumer demand.
"Given China's per capita GDP is about 25 percent that of the EU, the Chinese market has huge potential, and we want to tap into it," Wuttke said.
This year marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of China-EU diplomatic relations. Despite the virus, the two sides are anticipating high-level exchanges later this year, as well as further cooperation in fields such as trade and investment, climate change, green development and COVID-19 control.
Wuttke told Xinhua that he believes in China's market potential. "Economic recovery in the coming years will be a challenge, but in the long run, the outlook for China's economy is obviously very positive," he said.
Apart from China's market size and growth, the chamber president also thinks highly of the country's increasingly favorable environment for innovation and research and development (R&D).
Five years ago, 55 percent of European Chamber members found China's R&D environment to be as good as or better than the global average. That number has increased to 78 percent in 2020, according to Wuttke.