Last Friday, the Pangoal Institution and TWAI organized the conference “The Belt and Road Initiative and China-EU Economic and Trade Ties.” Guests included Former Prime Minister of Italy, Former President of the European Commission Romano Prodi, President of the Pangoal Institution Yi Peng, Professor from Peking University Enrico Fardella, Former Deputy Administrator of State Administration of Taxation Xu Shanda, Professor of Applied Economics, University of Ferrara Giorgio Prodi and Head of China Economic Policy Program Michele Geraci. We discussed future cooperation between China and EU under One Belt and one Road.
Minister of Industry and Information Technology, Miao Wei, during the National People Congress said that China welcomes foreign companies to compete openly with domestic companies within the framework of CM2025. He said the market is going to play a significant role in company selection and resources allocation. All companies will be treated equally. “Adhere to the government-led, market oriented” is the principle of CM 2025 initiative. Foreign direct investment in the manufacturing industry has peaked in 2011 at 50%, and since then declined to reach 43% in 2015. Worth noticing is how the proportion of foreign direct investment in the service industry has grown substantially over the last five years.
The European Chamber in China has just released a report commenting the “Made in China 2025” plan pursued by the Chinese Government. The report indicates the current challenges for CM 2025. One is the lack of skilled labors. The second challenge is overcapacity as a result of government subsidy over the past years. The third one is the challenge to international markets. I think another reason of worry is that most of the MA activity carried out by Chinese companies overseas, has actually been driven by the government encouragement. Therefore, it further represents market distortions.
Michele Geraci talked about global challenges and opportunities under Trump’s era at the opening ceremony of the 2017 CRRC Advanced International Talent Development Programme, at the University of Nottingham, China. Geraci also discussed Trieste port as an example of terminal for the Maritime Silk Road. Trieste port, located at Italy, is a key location for the 21st Maritime Silk Road. It has a big competitive advantage with Central Europe and it has direct links to Germany and, from there, direct links to Scandinavia.
The president of Italy is currently in china for an official state visit. This state visit comes at an interesting time for both China and Italy: the two countries are engaging more than before into a commercial dialogue of mutual respect and common interests, trade between the two counties shows good sign of improvement and Italian trade deficit appears to narrow slightly and capital investments made in the past couple of years have all helped improve the image that the Italian Business community has of China.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi claimed that China has been consistently supporting the European integration and China is willing to work with the European side for the world’s peace and development. To understand China’s continuing official declaration of support for the EU and the unity of Europe, we also have to bear in mind that sometimes China uses each one of the 28 members of the EU as 28 potential choices of entry. What the EU sees as a strength, that is its own unity, China sees it as EU weakness, because China’ strategy is one of Divide et impera.
China’s outbound property investment plunged 84% in January ’17, compared to January ’16, while for the whole of 2016, the non-financial outbound investment surged by 44% to a new record of 170 billion USD. Howerver, SAFE’s director, Mr Pan, claims that China is not taking any measure to restrict capital outflows and that the recent decline is only due to the abnormal increase posted during 2016. I tend to agree with Mr Pan, in that 2016 might have been an abnormal growth year, one cannot entirely dismiss the recent measures taken by the Chinese government that tend to make transfer of capital abroad a little bit less easier than before.