|China’s High-quality Economic Development Presents New Opportunities to China-Belgium Economic and Trade Cooperation|
As it is halfway through year of 2023, the economy of China, the world’s second largest economy and the engine of global growth, has attracted a lot of attention. Recently, the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) held a meeting to assess the current economic situation and make arrangements for economic work in the second half of the year, including latest arrangements to resolutely promote high-quality economic development.
Major economic data for H1 of 2023 show that China’s economy has continued to recover, with a generally upward momentum. China’s GDP grew by 5.5 percent in H1, one of the fastest among major economies. Consumption recovery continued and final consumption expenditure drove economic growth by 4.2 percentage points, making a contribution of 77.2 percent. Investment continued to grow and total capital formation contributed 1.8 percentage points to economy growth. Tertiary industry continued to recover, and employment and prices stayed generally stable. While coping with new challenges, China’s economy continued to transform and upgrade. Rapid growth was achieved in high-tech industries. The added value of information transmission, software and information technology sectors increased by 12.9 percent year-on-year. The output of new energy vehicles increased by 35 percent. The export of “three new products” (lithium batteries, solar batteries and electric passenger vehicles) grew by 61.6 percent. China has been exploring new paths for green transformation, accelerating the development of a modern industrial system, vigorously supporting technological innovation and the development of real economy and small, medium and micro-sized enterprises, and steadfastly promoting high-quality development.
The steady recovery of China’s economy has not come easily. In the meantime, it is necessary to understand fairly the risks and challenges in economic operation, such as the slowdown of some indicators. The Chinese economy has been closely linked to the world economy and thus will inevitably be affected by changes in external environment. On the whole, China’s economy has tremendous resilience and substantive potential, and the fundamentals sustaining its long-term growth remain unchanged. It is expected that China’s economy will steadily improve in the second half of the year, with some macro indicators gradually stabilizing. The overall positive development trend will be maintained. Some pessimistic media reports about China’s economy are based on individual economic indicators. They are just like looking at a leopard through a tube - missing the big picture.
Pressing ahead with high-standard opening-up, China has been transforming to opening-up based on rules and institutions from one that is based on flows of goods and factors of production. China remains committed to trade and investment liberalization and facilitation at a higher level. The meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee laid out a series of important arrangements again on advancing high-standard opening-up, ensuring stable scale and better structure of foreign trade, and attracting and utilizing foreign investment with greater efforts. Decisions like “taking multiple measures to achieve stable performance of foreign trade and investment”, “increasing international flights and ensuring the smooth operation of China-Europe Railway Express”, and “supporting Pilot Free Trade Zones (Ports) with conditions in place to dock with international high-standard economic and trade rules” will help ensure more smooth performance of the domestic and international dual cycles, develop the new development pattern at a faster pace, let the world share China’s market opportunities, and inject new impetus into global economic growth.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership. With years of development, China and the EU have formed a highly interdependent economic relationship. So-called de-risking must not lead to the removal of opportunities and cooperation. China-EU and China-Belgium economic and trade cooperation are mutually beneficial with bright prospects. Since the beginning of this year, world economic recovery has been fragile, facing downward risks. That said, China-Belgium trade has continued to grow. In H1, bilateral trade in goods totaled US$21.5 billion, increasing by 2.4 percent year-on-year. In June, the two sides signed a Memorandum of Cooperation on the Prevention and Control of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy and the Protocol of Phytosanitary Requirements for Export of Witloof Chicory from Belgium to China. Besides, the General Administration of Customs of China issued an announcement to lifting the ban on the export of Belgian boneless beef under the age of 30 months to China. Beef and chicory from Belgium may soon appear on the menu of the 1.4 billion Chinese people. It is believed that China’s economy, which is full of resilience and potential, will unleash a huge impetus for the upgrading of China-Belgium economic and trade cooperation. It is hoped that both sides will continue to explore new opportunities for cooperation in sectors such as commercial circulation, green development, new energy, pharmaceutical chemicals, and logistics and transportation.