10.10.2014 – 11:00
"Hamburg Summit": President of the Chamber of Commerce Calls for Better Access to the Chinese Market
Plea for the removal of trade barriers at the opening of the conference
At the opening of the sixth "Hamburg Summit: China meets Europe", to be held at the Chamber of Commerce on October 10 & 11, 2014, the President of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, Fritz Horst Melsheimer, called for free trade to be strengthened and protectionism to be dismantled. Melsheimer said that challenges such as the fight against climate change, achieving sustainable growth and creating stable economic conditions and a global economic order can no longercannot be tackled by China or Europe alone: "We will not solve these problems if we create additional barriers to trade. We need more trade with China, not less," Melsheimer stated in his opening speech to over 600 conference participants. China, as Melsheimer continued, is on its way to catching up with the most important global economic powers, assuming that the current dynamic remains the same. Hamburg is China's leading centre in Europe with over 500 Chinese companies. Around one-third of the container throughput in the port of Hamburg is with the People's Republic of China.
In his speech, Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel addressed the issue of Chinese direct investment in Europe and stressed in particular that collaboration, complementarity and commitment are the pillars of European-Chinese relations, which stand to benefit both sides. "Our respective growth strategies are mutually supportive and we have a common interest in each other's success. This is and should be seen as a win-win relationship. We have a stake in China's future and China has also a stake in Europe's future." He also emphasised that Luxembourg is the gateway to Europe for many Chinese investors.
In addition to Chinese investment in Europe, the main focus on the first day of the conference was Chinese economic reforms. Professor Sebastian Heilmann, Director President of the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS), sees implementing the reforms of the 3rd plenary session of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China as the responsibility of the Chinese government. "Key elements of the reform programme's implementation have been a long time coming. China's domestic economy is currently undergoing a very sensitive phase. The government in Peking is therefore reluctant to commence with the announced restructuring. The promotion of competition and improvements in market access are, if at all, only making progress in selected branches under these conditions. Foreign companies should not harbour any unrealistic hopes here," said Heilmann.
Additional current press releases, background information on and images from the "Hamburg Summit: China meets Europe" 2014 are available at http://www.hamburg-summit.com and at http://www.twitter.com/HamburgSummit.
Original content of: Handelskammer Hamburg, transmitted by news aktuell