By Xinhua writer Jin Jing LONDON Unitd
Kingdom (Xinhua) -- Nikhil Rathi, CEO
of the London Stock Exchange, could barely conceal his
excitement over an innovative project.
“We are looking
forward to further milestones on that project this year,” Rathi
said of the much anticipated Shanghai-London Stock Connect at a
recent forum in central London.
The project, the
first of its kind in Europe, will make it possible for investors
in either Shanghai or London to trade stocks listed in the other
market through depository receipts after its launch, scheduled
for this year.
Such a project,
which Rathi said could potentially change the outlook of the
global financial markets, is a strong testimony to the growing
cooperation between an increasingly open China and Europe, both
supporters of free trade and globalization, in the face of the
specter of protectionism.
The German inland
port city of Duisburg was a heavy industry center in the Ruhr
region in its heyday, but later struggled in economic terms.
Nowadays, the China
Railway Express (CRE) freight service runs regularly through the
town. The city is booming, with transport terminals in place of
steel mills, in hopes of becoming a logistics hub in West
The CRE freight
service now links 48 Chinese cities with 42 cities in 14
European states as it winds its way across the vast continent.
Made-in-China laptops, mobile phones and textiles are the most
popular products reaching Europe thanks to the trains, while
made-in-Europe high value-added fine wines and vehicle spare
parts are shipped to China.
The CRE freight
service has been a flagship project in line with the spirit of
the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a development initiative
proposed by China in 2013 envisioning trade and infrastructure
networks connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the
ancient Silk Road routes.
Partly thanks to the
CRE, more than 6,000 jobs have been created in Duisburg.
A “small industry”
has even emerged, generating tax revenues and strengthening the
reputation and importance of the city, said Markus Taube, an
economist with the University of Duisburg-Essen.
chairman of the renowned British think tank Chatham House, known
for coining the acronym BRIC for Brazil, Russia, India and China
in 2001, said the BRI is “possibly one of the most important
things for the future world trade.”
China has been
encouraging other countries to dovetail their development plans
with those of other countries and regions under the initiative.
The synergy between
the BRI and the development plans of the EU will create
opportunities for the world, said Zhang Ming, head of the
Chinese mission to the European Union (EU).
Despite the specter
of rising protectionism and unilateralism, China and Europe are
determined to increase their cooperation.
“We see now very
dangerous elements in the world ... I think China and the EU
have to work together with other partners to guard the World
Trade Organization and the rule-based global system,” said Jo
Leinen, chair of the European Parliament’s delegation for
relations with China.
The EU itself is a
multilateral system of 28 member states, Leinen said.
executive director of the Geneva-based International Trade
Center, said unilateralism is not effective to address systemic
problems in economy and trade and called for a coordinated
Borchmann, a former ministerial secretary of the German state of
Hesse, said in Berlin that it is very important for countries
like China and Germany, both supporters of globalism and free
trade, to work together.
The world economy is
“so closely linked together” and the impact of U.S.-initiated
trade disputes and rising protectionism can be felt in Germany,
President Danilo Turk sees a role for the BRI in helping bridge
the gaps in Europe.
China and the
Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries have worked
together to improve transport networks, like the E763 highway
project in Serbia, the Budapest-Belgrade railway, and a thermal
power plant in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Maribor, the second
largest city in Slovenia, could become a logistics hub in
eastern Europe if the infrastructural links can drive its
development as envisioned, Turk said.
The BRI has led to
“a massive change” in the direction of Chinese investment, said
Piotr Romanowski, global accounting and consulting firm
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)’s partner on advisory business in
“In recent years
surging investment from Chinese companies has brought real
business opportunities to the (CEE) region,” he said.
China, after four
decades of reform and opening-up, has pledged steps to further
open up its market and improve intellectual property right
protection. It will host the first China International Import
Expo in Shanghai in November.
Airbus, the European
aviation giant, delivered its first aircraft to China in 1985
and that number had only grown to less than 20 by 1994. However,
by late 2017, there were more than 1,500 Airbus commercial
jetliners in service in China, and nearly a quarter of Airbus
deliveries went to China, said Chief Executive Officer Tom
Airbus launched its
first final assembly line outside of Europe in Tianjin in 2008.
Laurence Barron, head of the Tianjin final assembly line project
and former CEO of Airbus China, said the company aims to have
2,000 aircraft operating in China before the end of 2020. In
2017, Airbus established its second global innovation center in
Shenzhen, a young city known for pioneering China’s reform and
made by Airbus in China are a good example of how foreign
companies can take advantage of the reform and opening-up and
better position themselves in China,” Barron said.
In London, Rathi
said the Shanghai-London Stock Connect “will allow global
investors to benefit from China’s growth through London, and
UK-listed companies will be able to access Chinese investors
are immense with new ways of connecting,” Rathi said.
(Xinhua correspondents Zhai Wei, Shuai Rong, Tian Dongdong,
Zheng Jianghua, Han Chong in Brussels, Tian Ying, Zhu Sheng,
Ren Ke in Berlin, Han Qian in Paris, Nie Xiaoyang in Geneva,
Wang Yahong in Ljubljana, Guo Mingfang in Vilnius, Liu Lihang
in Tirana, and Zhang Xiuzhi in Sarajevo contributed to the