Chinese Prenier Wen Jiabao(third right in front row)presents the Opening Ceremony of the fifth Asia-Europe Meeting held in Hanoi,capital of Vietnam,on october 8,2004.LIUWEIBING

      Simultaneously scheduled to coincide with the ninth China International Fair for Investment and Trade (CIFIT) that will take place in Xiamen in East China's Fujian Province, the ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) Trade and Investment Exposition is expected to function as an additional bridge in the economic and trade relationships between Asian and European countries.
       As proposed by Premier Wen Jiabao at the fifth ASEM Summit Meeting held last October in Vietnam, the exposition will run from September 8 to 11 inXiamen.
      "The expo will provide a platform for each country to introduce its trade and investment environment and policies," said Gao Hong, a researcher with the ChineseAcademy of Social Sciences.
       The economies of Asian and European countries complement one another, he explained.
       Most Asian countries are developing nations with an abundance of natural materials and labour resources, but they need high-technology and funding to develop their national economies. Developed European countries can provide them with such technological and financial support.
       Meanwhile, some European countries are rolling out the red carpet to investors from Asian countries.
        British and German governments, for example, have invited Chinese export enterprises to their countries, saying it would be helpful to base their activities there to provide easier access to target markets.
     "This expo in China is an excellent opportunity for the two sides to meet each other," Gao said.
      He added, "At the same time, the expo is expected to facilitate trade flow between members of the Asia-Europe Meeting."
      He explained that by introducing their own trade policies and studying those of other nations, enterprises from Asian and European countries would obtain more knowledge about their trading partners.
       "This is also essential to promote bilateral trade and to deal with possible trade frictions," he said.
       Exposition participants will also be able take advantage of CIFIT. "CIFIT attracts thousands of visitors from home and abroad every year and will help the organizers of the Asia-Europe Meeting, who are still new to (many) enterprises, to establish a brand of its own," Gao said.

        "By utilizing the existing platform and resources of CIFIT, this expo will create more opportunities for visitors," said Yin Zonghua, Deputy Director with the Department of International Trade and Economic Affairs of China's Ministry of Commerce.
        He explained that the decision to hold the two fairs together was made after thorough study and consultation.
        The Asia-Europe Meeting, which promotes dialogue between Asia and Europe, was playing an increasingly greater role in creating more harmonious relationships among its members, Yin said.
         Having won the approval of the ASEM member parties, the exposition will gather the various participants together to showcase their respective trade and investment climates and policies, said Chen Jing, a section director with the department.
         This is the difference between this year's exposition and previous promotional events, which were held by a single country or region during past sessions of CIFIT, Chen said.
         At the exposition, all ASEM member parties, such as the European Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the Commission of the European Union, will conduct talks on pressing economic issues in Asian and European regions.
          According to Chen, the expo will include special displays highlighting the countries and enterprises of the member parties.
          Investment seminars will also be held to allow each ASEM member to elaborate on their governmental policies, investment opportunities and investment projects.
          The invitation process for the exposition is running smoothly, Chen said. A number of ASEM member countries have shown great interest in the event.
          To date, Sweden, France, Spain, Luxemburg and Belgium have confirmed participation at the exposition.
          Some high-level officials with the State Council and the Ministry of Commerce will present the important activities of CIFIT at the exposition.

      The Swedish government will redouble its promotional activities in China this year following its successful experiences in Xiamen, a coastal city in the country¡¯s southeastern FujianProvince.
       In an exclusive interview with the Express, Eddie Chen, chief representative of the Invest in Sweden Agency (ISA) in China, said the Swedish government intends to further promote the country¡¯s investment environment to attract more Chinese enterprises to the northern European country.
       As part of that effort, Chen announced the Swedish government will send its largest delegation yet to attend the ninth China International Fair for Investment and Trade (CIFIT) and the concurrent Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Exposition on Trade and Investment, scheduled for September 8-11 inXiamen.
       Chen called CIFIT a unique event that facilitates bilateral and multilateral trade activities with countries from around the world. Given China's role as a global economic engine, CIFIT has absolute potential to become an important platform for the development of international trade, he added.
       Chen led the Swedish delegation at the past two sessions of CIFIT. He appreciates that CIFIT's organizer, China¡¯s Ministry of Commerce (MOC), is determined to transform the fair into an internationally respected trade and investment expo.
        Toward that end, MOC has reached an agreement with the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA) to help build CIFIT into a global brand and make it an international exposition in the near future.
       ISA director Kai Hammerich was elected chairman of WAIPA last year, while China¡¯s vice commerce minister Ma Xiuhong was elected vice chairwoman.
       Acknowledging the merits of CIFIT, the Swedish government has booked 16 booths this year, six more than for last year's session.
       ISA will again host a seminar on investing in Sweden at the fair. A matchmaking symposium will also be held for the first time so that Swedish enterprises can engage in face-to-face talks with their counterparts from all around the globe, according to Chen.
     Moreover, ISA, a key member of WAIPA, will hold a round-table meeting for WAIPA members. For this year's topic, participants will discuss the best operational mechanism and corefunction of investment promotion agencies.


volvo cars production line

     According to Chen, more and more Chinese companies are eyeing the markets of Sweden and northern Europe thanks to a series of promotional activities carried out by ISA in recent years.
     Nineteen Chinese enterprises, including Huawei Technologies and ZTE Wistrom Telecom, have opened branches in Sweden in the past two years.
     Chinese investors are most interested in such areas as telecommunications, auto parts manufacturing, biopharmaceuticals and agriculture.
     In addition, in the interest of better and more effective communication between enterprises in the two countries, some local Chinese governments, including the ShanghaiMunicipality, have established offices in Sweden.
     Sweden boasts the geographic advantage of being at the centre of northern Europe, which is home to nearly 100 million consumers, said Chen. The country is now the gateway for Chinese enterprises approaching the region.
     International investors will enjoy noticeably lower business operating costs compared with those of other industrialized countries. They will also compete with local Swedish companies within a transparent, equal and fair system.
     Sweden has a strong record of success in industry and technology, Chen added, and the country enjoys a good reputation around the world in such areas as information systems, auto manufacturing, biopharmaceuticals, heavy industry, home appliances and the designing of light industry products. During the past six to seven years, Sweden has ranked eleventh globally in terms of attracting foreign investment.

      The Flanders region of Belgium, which is located in the north of the country, will run 12 booths at the ninth session of the China International Fair for Investment and Trade (CIFIT).
       A seminar on investment in Flanders will also be staged during the fair, CIFIT's organizer has announced, with seating for about 100 guests.
       According to the Flanders Foreign Investment Office (FFIO), Flanders is at the hub of European trade and the heart of European decision-making.
    The region¡¯s immediate neighbours are France, Germany, the Netherlands and, just across the Channel, the United Kingdom. Geographically, Flanders sits in the middle of the wealthiest and most populated area of Europe, providing businesses with rapid access to leading markets and suppliers, said a spokesman for FFIO.
    Brussels, capital city of Flanders and the national capital of Belgium, is the headquarters of the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organization, as well as a large number of other non-governmental associations.
    In addition to a wide range of companies -- large and small, local and foreign -- operating in Flanders, a considerable number of corporate headquarters are based in both the region itself and in Brussels.
      Situated at the point where the Anglo-Saxon, Latin and Germanic cultures meet, Flanders has long been a crossroads of European trade and culture. As a result, businesses can benefit from the flexibility, language skills, business know-how and favourable enterprise environment built up over the centuries.
    Flanders also has highly developed transport and communications systems. With three of Europe¡¯s leading ports, two airports, an extensive inland waterway system and superlative road and rail networks, Flanders offers rapid and efficient supply and distribution links with other


A symposium on the economic development betwwen Belgium and six provinces in China's West on June 8,2005.YUANJINGZHI

  


Chinese Predident Hu Jintao(fourth left)welcome visiting Belgian King AlbertII(right)at the east square of the Grest Hall of the People in Beijing on June 6,2005.WUZHIYI

major European centres and the wider world. Flanders is also a thriving hi-tech region providing sophisticated, reliable communications connections.
    BrusselsInternationalAirport offers a range of intra-European and international flights, with most other major European centres accessible within two hours' flying time. Both Brussels and Antwerp are on Europe's high-speed train network, which runs frequent services to such key cities as London and Paris.
    The national workforce is the most productive per hour in the EU, according to figures researched by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Developmentpublished in 2003. Surveys have also shown the Flemish workforce to be loyal to employers and the Flemish people to be among the most multi-lingual in Europe, generally speaking English and French, and often German, in addition to their own language.
    After centuries at the heart of European trade and culture, the Flemish people have earned a reputation for cross-border flexibility and understanding. The modern international character of cities such as Brussels and Antwerp, along with the large number of foreign companies in Flanders, has added to the international business culture that exists in the region.
    Logistics operations based in Flanders extend across a wide range of sectors and include both in-company operations and third-party specialist contractors. Specialist national and international third-party operators include, among others, Caterpillar, Katoen Natie, Furness Logistics and Essers.
    A number of the operations are located in the more than 185 specialist European Logistics Centres (ELC) in Flanders. These ELCs combine a number of value-added services and activities, from order-entry in call-centres through repair services to assembly.
    The industry is supported by the Flanders Institute for Logistics, a centre dedicated to strengthening the sector through research and innovation.
    Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Flanders fell slightly last year but launched more projects and created more new jobs than the previous year, according to figures produced by FFIO.
    While the total amount invested in projects recorded by FFIO reached 1.13 billion Euros (US$1.37 billion), down from 1.27 billion Euros (US$1.66 billion) in 2003, the number of projects announced increased. In addition, the number of jobs created rose from 2,761 in 2003 to 2,949 in 2004.
    The sectors attracting the most investment were logistics and transport, the automotive industry, IT and telecommunications, chemicals and electronics. These sectors created the most jobs and also accounted for the largest investments. The leading countries of origin for FDI in Flanders in 2004 were neighbouring nations, the US and Japan.
    Export Vlaanderen, the Flanders Export Promotion Agency, is the Flemish public agency responsible for promoting exports of Flemish products and services. The agency runs an office in Guangzhou, capital of Southern China¡¯s GuangdongProvince.

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Editorial Department of International Investment Express for the ninth China International Fair for Investment and Trade
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