Jilin province to strengthen European ties

Updated: 2012-03-06 15:56

By Meng Jing and Zhang Yan (chinadaily.com.cn)

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Northeast China's Jilin province is keen to strengthen its cooperation with Europe as the region's industries climb up the value chain, said the provincial governor.

Wang Rulin, governor of Jilin province, said at a promotional function in Beijing on Monday evening that the province is going through rapid industrialization and urbanization, which offers many business opportunities for European companies.

"We hope this event can be the beginning for a new and deeper cooperation, which will bring a win-win situation for both sides," Wang said at the function, which was designed to promote Jilin to European ambassadors, chamber leaders and companies.

Jilin province's GDP last year surpassed the 1 trillion yuan ($158.6 billion) mark for the first time, reaching 1.05 trillion yuan. This figure increased 13.7 percent compared with 2010, while provincial energy consumption per unit of GDP dropped 3.5 percent.

The province, which is famous for its agriculture and industrial base, has ambitions to expand to other sectors, such as environmental industries and clean energies, in an aim to further grow its economy.

Patrick Vandenbemd, general manger of the Beijing office of Benelux Chamber of Commerce in China, said the event offers a lot of interesting information and opportunities.

According to Vandenbemd, the majority of his chamber's 500 membership companies are located in first-tier cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

"We are not familiar with Jilin. But through the introduction, we may start to consider the place as the rising cost in first-tier cities has started to push companies to relocate their investment in China," he said.

Helmut Schonleber, program director of the regional economic development in Northeast China with the German Development Cooperation, said his organization has already had some vocational training cooperation with Jilin province.

"We are thinking about furthering our cooperation in tourism. Jilin province has well preserved natural resources, which we Germany will really appreciate," he said.

Around 111 senior executives from 108 European companies in the Fortune 500 attended the event as well as nine European ambassadors to China and eight chamber leaders.