Photo taken on July 9, 2019, shows young representatives of various circles from China and 17 Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs) posing for a photo at the third Bridge of the Future China-CEEC Youth Exchange Camp that lasted for five days in 2019 in Yiwu, east China’s Zhejiang province. (Photo by Lyu Bin/People’s Daily Online)
Trade volume between China and 17 Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs) reached $103.45 billion in 2020, passing the $100-billion mark for the first time, according to data from China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOC).
The trade figure represented a year-on-year growth of 8.4 percent, higher than the growth rates of China’s foreign trade and the country’s trade with Europe last year.
Since the establishment of the China-CEEC cooperation mechanism in 2012, China and 17 CEECs have enjoyed an 8-percent average annual growth rate in foreign trade, which is over three times the growth rate of China’s foreign trade and more than twice that of the trade between China and the European Union (EU), said Gao Feng, spokesperson of the MOC at a recent regular press conference of the ministry.
Besides foreign trade, investment cooperation between China and CEECs has also seen continuous progress. Data from the MOC shows that as of the end of 2020, China’s industry-wide foreign direct investment in 17 CEECs totaled $3.14 billion, covering such sectors as energy, mining, infrastructure, logistics, and automobile parts. During the same period, the 17 CEECs invested $1.72 billion in China accumulatively.
In addition, connectivity between China and CEECs has been improved constantly. Last year, China-Europe freight trains made a total of 12,400 trips, with such countries as Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, and Slovakia becoming important passages and destinations of the freight trains.
In 2020, Chinese companies signed $5.41 billion worth of project contracts with the 17 CEECs, up 34.6 percent from 2019.
Sub-national cooperation between China and CEECs has been deepened increasingly. According to the MOC, Ningbo city in east China’s Zhejiang province has made active efforts to advance the construction of the China-CEEC demonstration zone for economic cooperation and trade in Ningbo, making CEECs its priorities in further expanding opening-up; Cangzhou city in north China’s Hebei province has established the China-CEEC SME Cooperation Zone to boost cooperation between the two sides in fields including aviation, agriculture, and high-end manufacturing; and northeast China’s Liaoning province has been actively building the coastal economic belt China-CEEC demonstration zone for economic cooperation and trade.
China is ready to make joint efforts with CEECs to further unleash the potential of cooperation and bring their economic and trade cooperation to a higher level, Gao said.