Cooperation in an age of uncertainty

27 June 2017 - 09:00 - 13:00
Eric Fish, Chi Fulin, Meng Hong, Zhao Jinping, Cecilia Malmström, Liu Mao, Pino Musolino, Masami Nakata, Andrejs Pildegovičs, Juan Prat y Coll, Hans-Jörg Schmidt-Trenz, Zhang Ying, Cao Yuanzheng

The 7th EU-China Forum ‘EU-China cooperation in an age of uncertainty” will look at the future directions of EU-China relations in an age of increased uncertainties. Friends of Europe’s annual EU-China Forum brings together a unique mix of high-level speakers from Europe and China for an in-depth discussion on the different aspects of this multi-faceted relationship and is attended by policymakers, business representatives and leading academics from across Europe and China to discuss issues of shared interest and address pressing common challenges. Related content:


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Europe’s relationship with Asia and Africa is expanding, reflecting the increasing global importance of emerging economies. We track these developments through our Asia Programme and Europe-China Forum, and through our work looking at the EU vision and strategy towards China, India, Japan and ASEAN, and its role in the Asia-Europe Meeting.

09.00 – 09.30

Welcome and registration of participants

09.30 - 11.00


Following the successful high-level Belt and Road Forum held in Beijing in May, the world is waiting and watching for the next steps in implementing China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The visionary blueprint for deeper connectivity across vast swathes of Europe and Asia has important implications for the two regions’ governments, businesses and people. Better and faster transport connections will mean an increase in trade and investment flows while the building of soft and hard digital infrastructure will speed up communications, financial cooperation and exchanges between people. The regional cooperation and security implications of the initiative are significant but still largely unexplored. The BRI also offers economic opportunities to the European Union as well as possible avenues for further economic and security cooperation with China and other states along the Belt.

  • What are the key takeaways of the Belt and Road Forum and how will they be implemented?
  • How successful is China in translating the Belt and Road vision into real projects and which projects and schemes are already operational or will become so in the near future?
  • What are the key aims of the initiative and to what extent do they reflect the objectives of regional powers across the network?
  • Beyond direct economic engagement, could BRI become an entry point for deeper cooperation between the EU and China on a range of issues related to global and regional governance?

Welcome message by:

Yang Yanyi, Ambassador and Head of Mission of China to the EU


Chi Fulin, President of the China Institute for Reform and Development (CIRD)

Pino Musolino, President of the North Adriatic Sea Port Authority, Italy

Andrejs Pildegovičs, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Latvia

Hans-Jörg Schmidt-Trenz, Representative and Counsellor of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, Germany

Zhang Ying, Professor and Associate Dean of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Zhao Jinping, Director-General of the Research Department of Foreign Economic Relations at the Development Research Center of the State Council (DRC), China

Message contribution by:

Hans-Dietmar Schweisgut, Ambassador of the European Union to the People’s Republic of China

11.00 - 11.30

Coffee break

11.30 - 13.00


As illustrated by the 19th EU-China summit, from the Brexit referendum to the arrival of US President Donald Trump, geopolitical changes are having an important impact on both Europe and China and on EU-China relations. The new US President’s tough stance on trade, including the decision to pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), has injected increased uncertainty into an already fragile global trade landscape. Significantly, China and the EU have responded with a robust defence of free trade. President Xi Jinping has underlined that “no one will emerge as a winner in a trade war”. The EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström has echoed similar concerns, saying that “if others around the world want to use trade as a weapon, I want to use it as a tonic, a vital ingredient for prosperity and progress.” In addition, following the US’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, EU and Chinese leaders have reaffirmed their commitment to implement the agreement and, as major energy consumers and importers, highlighting  the importance of fostering cooperation in their energy policies.

  • Since they share many concerns as regards the policies of the new US Administration, can China and the EU work together on issues like world trade liberalisation?
  • How can China and the EU really make a difference on issues related to climate change and other global governance challenges?
  • What are the chances that the EU and China will start discussions on a bilateral FTA and what are the pros and cons of such an agreement? What structural contradictions need to be tackled and how?
  • How close are the EU and China to concluding a Bilateral Investment Treaty and will such a deal ease European concerns about the rise in Chinese investments in Europe?
  • Will Brexit be a boost or a road bump in EU-China relations?
  • How are Millennials grappling with the world’s growing uncertainties and how can they be mobilised to drive social progress?


Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Trade

Cao Yuanzheng, Former Chief Economist of the Bank of China and Chairman of BOCI Research

Eric Fish, author of “China’s Millennials: the want generation”

Liu Miao, Chairman of Luzhou Laojiao

Meng Hong, Professor at Renmin University of China

Masami Nakata, Assistant Secretary-General of the Energy Charter Secretariat

Juan Prat y Coll, Special Advisor for International Affairs at Fipra and former European Commission Director-General for External Relations

Shada Islam
Director Europe & Geopolitics
Shada Islam is responsible for policy oversight of Friends of Europe’s initiatives, activities and publications. She has special responsibility for issues related to the Future of Europe, Migration, the Asia Programme and the Development Policy Forum. Shada is Visiting Professor at the College of Europe (Natolin) where she teaches Asia-Europe relations and has been selected as a fellow by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). She has been named as one of twenty most influential women in Brussels by Politico. Shada is the former Europe correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review and has previously worked on Asian and Migration issues at the European Policy Centre. She is one of the authors of Friends of Europe’s much-read “Frankly Speaking” commentary and is sought after as a speaker, commentator, columnist and moderator at high-level European and global events. Shada also continues to write on EU foreign and security policy, EU-Asia relations and trade and development issues for leading Asian, European and international publications and academic journals.
Eric Fish
Journalist and author of "China's Millennials: the want generation"
Eric Fish is a leading journalist, podcaster and author specialising on China’s youth. He drew on his years working as a teacher and journalist in China to write his acclaimed book, “China’s Millennials”, a nuanced and insightful look at the post-1980 generation and its coming of age as China assumes a leading position on the world stage. He previously worked for the Chinese newspaper Economic Observer and founded the blog He currently writes for the Asia Society, a non-profit dedicated to promoting US-Asia cooperation.
Chi Fulin
President and Chief Researcher of the China Institute for Reform and Development (CIRD)
As President, Chi Fulin leads the CIRD’s efforts to facilitate China’s economic and development policy. He has published over 500 academic papers and is the recipient of numerous awards. Chi was listed in 2009 as one of the ‘100 Economists that have influenced China’s economic construction in the last 60 years’. In addition to his CIRD role, he serves in numerous leadership positions including Vice-Chairman of the China Societies of Economic and Administrative Reform.
Meng Hong
Professor at the Renmin University of China
Meng Hong is a leading academic specialising on EU-China relations, and holds key responsibilities in numerous Chinese and German research institutions, being among others visiting research fellow in the Centre for European Studies at the Renmin University of China.
Zhao Jinping
Director-General of the Research Department of Foreign Economic Relations at the Development Research Center of the State Council (DRC)
Zhao Jinping is a leading voice on international economy and foreign trade. The Development Research Center is a policy research and consulting institution directly under the supervision of the State Council, the chief Chinese administrative authority. As Director of the Research Department of Foreign Economic Relations, he is in charge of conducting studies and providing policy recommendations on China's opening-up, as well as foreign trade and foreign investment.
Cecilia Malmström
EU Commissioner for Trade
As Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström is responsible for pursuing an ambitious trade agenda to the benefit of European citizens, SMEs and the broader economy, and negotiating key bilateral trade agreements, including a comprehensive EU-China investment agreement. Prior to her career in the Commission, Malmström was Minister for EU Affairs in the Swedish government and has been a Member of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs, and on Constitutional Affairs.
Liu Mao
Chairman of Luzhou Laojiao
A leading Chinese businessman, Liu Miao joined Luzhou Laojiao in 1991 and currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors. Luzhou Laojiao is a state-owned entreprise principally engaged in the production and sale of Luzhou Laojiao series spirits, one of the oldest Chinese liquors still in production. Liu has been awarded a number of business awards, including “Most respected Board Chairman in China's Listed Companies” and was named one of China’s 2016 Economic Figures of the Year.
Pino Musolino
President of the North Adriatic Sea Port Authority, Italy
Pino Musolino is at the head of the North Adriatic Sea Port Authority, which brings the Venice and Chioggia ports under a unified administrative system. A major European port, the Port of Venice handles more than 20 million tons of cargo every year, and is one of the key players in the ‘Five Ports Alliance’, a major container terminal project in the northern Adriatic widely seen as Italy’s flagship BRI project. An expert in international commercial and maritime law, Musolino previously held senior positions at Hapag-Lloyd and Atlantis International Services.
Masami Nakata
Assistant Secretary-General of the Energy Charter Secretariat
Masami Nakata is the Assistant Secretary-General of the Energy Charter Secretariat, the main institution of the Energy Charter Conference, an international organisation dealing with global energy governance issues. She is an expert on energy policy, and previously worked as a Professor at Kumamoto University and Associate Professor at Doshisha University in Japan. Nakata also previoulsy served as a Programme Specialist in UNESCO’s Science Sector.
Andrejs Pildegovičs
State Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Latvia
Andrejs Pildegovičs has been Latvia’s State Secretary for Foreign Affairs since 2013. Latvia was the first Baltic country to join the BRI and is part of the “16+1” group, China’s mechanism for engaging with Central and Eastern Europe, welcoming its summit in Riga in 2016. A sinologist, Pildegovičs has more than 20 years of experience at the Latvian Foreign Ministry, having previously served as Undersecretary of State and Political Director, Ambassador to the United States and to Mexico, and Chief of Staff to the President.
Juan Prat y Coll
Special Advisor for International Affairs at Fipra and former European Commission Director-General for External Relations
Juan Prat y Coll combines very distinguished diplomatic, civil service and European Commission careers. A key expert and practitioner on EU foreign policy, he previously served as European Commission Director-General for External Relations and was also the Ambassador of Spain to Italy and the Netherlands, as well as Spain’s Permanent Representative to NATO. He has written numerous publications on EU foreign policy and is a member of the Aspen Institute, a leading policy studies organisation.
Hans-Jörg Schmidt-Trenz
Representative and Counsellor of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, Germany
Hans-Jörg Schmidt-Trenz is a leading specialist on business development and foreign trade. As CEO of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce for more than two decades, he initiated the Hamburg Summit “China meets Europe” in 2004, a major biennial economic conference aimed at improving economic dialogue and relations between the EU and China. He is also the Founder and President of the Hamburg School of Business Administration and teaches economics at the University of Saarland and at the University of Hamburg.
Zhang Ying
Professor and Associate Dean of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Zhang Ying is a widely-recognised expert on the Chinese economy, and has written numerous analyses and commentaries for prominent newspapers, including the Washington Post and China Daily. She currently teaches Chinese Economy at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, where she is also Associate Dean for China Business and Relations and supervises cross-disciplinary studies on economics and business administration. Zhang was named in 2015 one of the “Best 40 under 40” Business School Professors worldwide by Poets & Quants. Previously, she was a Research Fellow at Harvard University and Honorary Professor at Beijing Jiaotong University.
Cao Yuanzheng
Chairman of BOCI Research and Chief Economist (1998-2016) of the Bank of China
An expert on transformation economies and international finance, Cao Yuanzheng is the Chairman of Bank of China International Research (BOCI), an investment research firm, and previously served as the Chief Economist of the Bank of China. Prior to that, Cao served as an economist for several development institutions, including the Asian Development Bank and the United Nations Development Program. He has also worked as a consultant for countries undergoing economic transformations, including Vietnam, Mongolia, the Czech Republic, and Kazakhstan.
Europe – China Forum
Media partner
Clotilde Sipp, Programme Manager
Tel: +32 2 893 98 12

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