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Remarks by Ambassador Qu Xing to Welcome China Shipping Globe on Its Maiden Voyage
2015-01-16 21:48

Deputy General Manager Yu Cenggang ,

Mr. Governor Decaluwe, Mr. Mayor Landuyt, Mr. Director General Coens, and General Manager Ben Vree,

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends:

Today happens to be the completion of my first-month in office as Chinese Ambassador in Belgium. It is a real pleasure for me to join you in welcoming the China Shipping Globe on its maiden voyage. China Shipping Globe, the largest cargo ship in the world, brings to Europe 19,000 TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) of goods “made in China”, and on its way back, will carry to China with 10-storey height European products. This ship is the perfect exhibition of enormous trade volume between China and Belgium.

The rapid rising China-Belgium trade can be dazzling. Over the past decade, the average annual growth rate of bilateral trade reached 16.4%. In 2005, China-Belgium trade exceeded ten billion US dollars for the first time. In 2008, the figure doubled to over 20 billion US dollars. In 2014, the bilateral trade is expected to reach 27 billion US dollars, which will be the second best in history. Compared with 1971, when the two countries established diplomatic relations, China-Belgium trade increased by 1350 times, which means every seven hours of trade today is equivalent to that of the whole year in 1971. Chinese exports bring to the Belgian people more affordable daily necessities, and to Belgian manufacturers a stable and sufficient supply of production materials, making important contributions to Belgium’s economic and social stability and people's well-being. Meanwhile, Belgian exports provide Chinese companies with advanced equipment, and Chinese consumers with high-quality products, which is conducive to upgrading China’s industry and consumption structure. China-Belgium trade stands out as an example of "success story" in the context of globalization.

The prospect for future cooperation is promising. Currently, China's economic development has entered a stage of new normal, and will maintain moderate-to-rapid growth in a period from now on. China pursues the opening-up strategy of mutual benefits and win-win results, balanced growth of domestic and external demand, import and export, foreign investment and overseas investment. In the next five years, China’s accumulated import will exceed 10 trillion US dollars. In the next 10 years, China's overseas investment will reach 1.25 trillion US dollars. This will provide countries in the world including Belgium with more opportunities in terms of market, growth, investment and cooperation.

Our political relationship lays good foundation for future cooperation. The current bilateral relations are in the best period in history. In 2014, Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a historic state visit to Belgium, and the two countries issued Joint Declaration on deepening the all-round friendly and cooperative partnership. China highly values Belgium’s advantage as the "heart" of EU mechanism and the European economy, and is ready to work with Belgian side to foster new growth point in the field of new economy, green economy and circular economy. Joint efforts will be made to explore means and resources to bind the Chinese-European cooperation to the construction of the Silk Road economic belt, and develop the great Eurasian market. During the visit, the two leaders also witnessed signing of several trade agreements, including China Shipping’s acquisition of shares of APM Terminals Zeebrugge..

Ladies and gentlemen:

Brugge has made important contributions to the development of China-Belgium relations. Last April, President Xi Jinping concluded his trip to Europe by delivering an important speech at the College of Europe in Brugge. President Xi Jinping was warmly received by the local government and people. We have faith in the future of China-Belgium relations, because it is what people desire. President Xi said that in Flemish, Brugge means "bridge". In that case, Zeebrugge should be the "bridge of the sea", which carries the city’s history and tradition, and reflects its readiness to embrace globalization. Today, the China Shipping Globe arrives here to respond to the wishes and aspiration of Brugge. Let us wish all the best for China Shipping Globe’s maiden voyage, and wish a even brighter future for China-Belgium relations.

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