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November 22–25, 2016, Beijing

From left to right: Mr Hans-Dietmar Schweisgut Ambassador of the EU in China; Gwenn Sonck (EUCBA); Mr Daniel Calleja, Director General DG Environment; European Commission; European Commissioner for Environment Mr Karmenu Vella; Mr Philippe Van der Donckt, Business Development Director Asia, UMICORE and Vice Chairman EUCBA; Mr Veronique Hueylle, Senior Expert DG Environment EU Commission

The European Union organized a trade mission to Beijing from November 23 till 25 for companies in the circular economy. The mission was led by Mr Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Environment, and Mr Daniel Calleja, Director General, DG Environment. The mission was organized concurrently with the China International Circular Economy Exhibition (en.chinacace.org; www.chinacace.org). The EU-China Business Association took part in this mission and was represented by Mr Philippe Van der Donckt, Vice-Chairman EUCBA, and Ms Gwenn Sonck, Secretary General, EUCBA.

The participants received an introductory briefing on doing business in China, including a keynote speech by the EU Director-General for Environment Daniel Calleja. EU Commissioner Karmenu Vella attended a networking cocktail on the first day of the mission and met with the members of the delegation. The China Association for Circular Economy (CACE) organized a visit for the participants to the China International Circular Economy Exhibition 2016 at the China National Convention Center, where Commissioner Vella delivered the opening speech. At the EU-China Forum towards a circular economy, Ms Ma Rong, Deputy Director General of the Department of Resource Conservation and Environmental Protection at the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) gave a speech on the achievements of China’s circular economy development. Director General Daniel Calleja talked about the EU’s circular economy package and implementation. During the seminar, Mr Philippe Van der Donckt, Business Development Umicore, also shared the experiences and expectations of Umicore on circular economy.

A Forum on circular economy technology innovation, investment and financing was also organized with speeches by Xin Guobin, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), Fan Hengshan, Deputy Secretary of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), and Liao Xiaoqi, former Vice Minister of Commerce. A number of memorandums of understanding (MOUs) were singed. Finally, a visit was organized to Tus-Sound company at the State Green Industries Zone in Beijing.

During this mission, the EUCBA organized a seminar focused on Opportunities for Business – Green Technologies and Green Business Perspectives. Following an introduction by Gwenn Sonck, Secretary General of the EU-China Business Association (EUCBA), Bo Ji, Assistant Dean of Global Executive Education, Chief Representative for Europe, Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB), delivered a very interesting keynote speech entitled “China: From Red to Green”, on the development of China’s greentech market and the opportunities for Chinese businesses. Philip Bartley, Director of Development Solutions (Consortium Lead) and Reinout van Malenstein, China IPR SME Helpdesk gave presentations at the event on the protection of intellectual property rights (IPRs).

The Circular Economy Mission to Beijing was a real success in terms of number of participants: 79 representatives of 34 companies; 15 European business associations; 6 national business associations; 2 national research institutes; 4 national governmental organisations and 1 foundation. The EU-China Business Association (EUCBA), the EU Chamber of Commerce in China, the EU SME Centre in China, the Enterprise Europe Network partner in China (EU Project Innovation Centre – EUPIC) and the EU IPR Helpdesk were also part of the delegation.

The delegation comprised CEOs and industry representatives who between them represented 14 different nationalities (namely Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden and UK). Various sectors of the environmental industry were represented, including agro-biotechnology, chemicals, crop sciences, food and edical, luxury, sustainable construction, packaging, plastics, recycling, renewable energy, water and related services, waste management, IT, telecom, etc. There were also companies that offer engineering, urban planning or consultancy services.

The European companies present in the delegation employ more than 1.3 million employees and reach more than €535 billion in turnover. The combined turnover of the companies taking part is greater than the GDP of Sweden.

The European companies present in the delegation together with the European business associations, national business associations, national research institutes, national governmental organisations and foundations employ more than 6.3 million employees and reach €1315 billion in turnover. The combined turnover of the companies and business associations taking part is almost as large as the GDP of Spain.