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Remarks By Ambassador Cao Zhongming at the Chinese New Year Reception Hosted by the Flanders-China Chamber of Commerce
2023-02-02 19:00

Your Excellency Minister-President Jan Jambon,

Distinguished Mr. Luc Delagaye, Member of the FCCC Board,

Friends from the Flanders Business Community,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening!

It gives me great pleasure to join old and new friends at the FCCC Chinese New Year reception to celebrate the Spring Festival, discuss cooperation and look forward to the future. On this occasion, I wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous Year of the Rabbit.

The past year of 2022 is extraordinary for both China and the world. Last October, the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) was successfully convened. New CPC central leadership with comrade Xi Jinping at its core was elected, and a grand blueprint for building a modern socialist country in all respects and for advancing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through a Chinese path to modernization was mapped out. The Congress is of significant importance for both China and the world. China will advance to promote high-standard opening-up, pursue high-quality development, and contribute more to peace, stability and sustainable economic development of the world with its own development, adding certainty to a world facing many challenges of uncertainties.

Given the compound impact of geopolitical crises and COVID-19, the year 2022 saw an energy crisis, soaring inflation, and major challenges to industrial and supply chains globally. World economic recovery is losing momentum and downward pressure is mounting.

In such a context, China-Belgium economic and trade cooperation has also encountered multiple challenges. That said, I am encouraged to see that last year, bilateral trade and investment continued to grow. Statistics from China’s General Administration of Customs show that in 2022, bilateral trade in goods totaled US$44.4 billion, increasing by 14 percent year-on-year. On investment, China’s investment to Belgium has slightly declined due to business environment changes in Europe, but investment from Belgium to China has maintained robust growth. In a word, China-Belgium economic and trade cooperation has shown great resilience. Such achievements are attributable to the joint efforts by Belgian and Chinese entrepreneurs, and institutions like FCCC. I would like to pay tribute to you for your good efforts despite the many unfavorable conditions.

Ladies and gentlemen,


Openness brings opportunities, and cooperation promotes development. Since China started its reform and opening-up, many Belgian companies, especially those from Flanders like members of FCCC, have been deeply rooted in the Chinese market and achieved remarkable success. I have also noted that Belgium-based Chinese companies have made important contributions to local socioeconomic development.

It has been proven that China-Belgium economic and trade cooperation is in essence mutually beneficial drawing on each side’s strength. Looking ahead, there is still big potential in the sectors of biopharmaceutics, logistics and transportation, commerce and trade, circular economy and green development for the two countries to unlock. China will deepen economic and trade cooperation with Belgium, while hopes to not see blocks or restrictions set in the name of so-called “national security” and “less dependence on China”.

Ladies and gentlemen,


As the world’s second largest economy, China’s economic development has always attracted global attention. I want to tell you that  given its strong resilience, tremendous potential and great vitality, the Chinese economy will embrace significant improvement in 2023 with hard work. It is highly likely that China’s GDP growth will return to normal level or even outperform. The IMF has revised up its latest forecast of China’s GDP growth to 5.2% to 4.4%. China was, is, and will continue to be a promising land for foreign investments and an important market that international companies cannot ignore. China will further improve the market-oriented and law-based business environment that meets international standards. We also hope that Belgium will provide a fair, friendly, non-discriminatory and sustainable development environment for Chinese enterprises.

Flanders is one of most dynamic and innovative regions in Belgium.  I am deeply impressed that like their Chinese counterparts, the many Flemish entrepreneurs are pragmatic, flexible and hard-working with a pioneering spirit. Minister-President Jambon, you are most welcome to lead Flemish business delegations to visit China again. Flemish companies to are welcome to take an active part in the sixth China International Import Expo to explore more business opportunities. The Chinese Embassy in Belgium will continue to support communication and cooperation between companies of the two countries, and to provide necessary facilitation and convenience.

Ladies and gentlemen,


Since January 8, China has revised measures on cross-border travel, which provides positive conditions to restore normal and orderly personnel exchanges between China and Belgium. This will contribute to exchanges and cooperation in different fields between the two countries.

The overall COVID response situation in China is stable and orderly. The COVID wave has subsided and level of new infections has been coming down steadily across the country. Business operation and people’s life have returned to normal. It is convenient and safe to travel to China. You may start planning for your travel now without further ado.

Ladies and gentlemen,


This year is the Year of the Rabbit and the rabbit signifies vitality and longevity. I wish that in 2023, practical cooperation between China and Belgium will be brought to a new level and deliver more benefits to the two countries and peoples. 

Thank you.

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