CCCEU officially launches Finance Working Group in Luxembourg | "Fasten the China-Europe Connection: Cross-border Renminbi and Beyond" Forum successfully held

CCCEU| Updated: Feb 26, 2024

Press release—

CCCEU officially launches Finance Working Group in Luxembourg

"Fasten the China-Europe Connection: Cross-border Renminbi and Beyond" Forum  successfully held

Feb. 23, 2023, Luxembourg

On February 23, 2024, China Chamber of Commerce to the EU (CCCEU) successfully conducted the unveiling ceremony of its Finance Working Group in Luxembourg. Concurrently, the "Fasten the China-Europe Connection: Cross-border Renminbi and Beyond" Forum, jointly organized by the CCCEU, China-Europe Business Council, and the Association of Chinese Enterprises in Belgium and Luxembourg, took place.

This forum signifies the inaugural high-profile event subsequent to the establishment of the CCCEU's Finance Working Group. Its primary aim is to establish a platform that enhances bilateral financial and trade cooperation between the Chinese and European business communities. Additionally, it aims to facilitate the expansion of financial markets in both China and Europe, thereby promoting economic stability and progress, and advancing the development of trade relations between the two regions.

Chinese Ambassador to Luxembourg Hua Ning, Minister Peng Gang from the Chinese Mission to the EU, the CCCEU Chairman Xu Chen, President of the CCCEU Finance Working Group Li Li, President Qiu Yunping of Deutsche Bank (China) Co Ltd, and Mr. He Biqing, President of the Association of Chinese Enterprises in Belgium and Luxembourg, delivered guest speeches.

CCCEU Finance Working Group Officially Inaugurated

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Following meticulous preparation, the CCCEU Finance Working Group was formally established in Luxembourg on the 23rd. Ambassador Hua Ning and Minister Peng Gang bore witness as CCCEU Chairman Xu Chen and CCCEU Finance Working Group President Li Li inaugurated the Working Group. Subsequently, all members of the Financial Working Group gathered for a group photograph.

Ambassador Hua Ning expressed his warm welcome for the establishment of the CCCEU Finance Working Group. He emphasized that financial cooperation has evolved into a crucial component of Sino-Luxembourg collaboration. Leveraging the distinctive advantages of Luxembourg's financial industry, Sino-Luxembourg and Sino-European investment and trade cooperation hold significant potential and promising prospects. Ambassador Hua also acknowledged the profound and intricate changes underway in the international environment, alongside notable adjustments in European policy towards China.

He presented three expectations for the CCCEU Finance Working Group: firstly, to serve as a conduit between the governments and businesses of China and Europe, articulating concerns and demands promptly and proactively; secondly, to function as a platform for the business communities of China, Luxembourg, and the EU to engage in dialogue, enhance information exchange, and leverage shared resources and opportunities; and thirdly, to serve as a showcase for promoting China and Chinese enterprises, guiding member companies to actively participate in public diplomacy efforts and cultivate a positive image for Chinese businesses.

Minister Peng Gang offered his congratulations on the establishment of the chamber's Finance Working Group. In his speech, he underscored the pivotal moment in China-EU economic and trade cooperation. He highlighted the importance for the CCCEU to enhance its professionalism and strengthen internal frameworks, formalizing the introduction of its third working group, the Finance Working Group, after the Digital and Green Working Groups. Peng emphasized finance as the essential backbone of the real economy, recognizing the increasing demand for a variety of financial services amidst Europe's expanding business landscape, thereby presenting opportunities.

"We anticipate European financial enterprises to leverage their strengths, actively expand operations within Europe with a foundation of sound practices, and furnish more comprehensive financial backing for the multitude of Chinese enterprises in Europe. This will foster greater confidence among Chinese enterprises venturing into European markets, ensuring a steadier progression,"remarked Peng.

Chairman Xu Chen of the CCCEU highlighted the comprehensive, multi-tiered, and extensive cooperation between China and Europe, noting significant strides in financial collaboration. He underscored the proactive engagement of Chinese financial institutions in exploring the European market, with green finance emerging as a focal point in Sino-European cooperation. Additionally, Xu pointed out the anticipated growth of financial technology, including digital currency and blockchain, as a new frontier in Sino-European financial collaboration. As China's financial market further opens up and internationalizes, the expectation is for more Chinese financial enterprises to enter Europe.

Against this backdrop, the establishment of the CCCEU Finance Working Group marks a significant milestone, signaling the business community's recognition of the importance of China-EU financial cooperation. Xu emphasized that the Finance Working Group will serve as a platform for Chinese and European financial institutions and enterprises to communicate, collaborate, and deepen financial cooperation. Its objectives include fostering investment in Europe and elevating the development of China-EU economic and trade relations to higher levels of quality and sophistication.

Li Li, Chairwoman of ICBC Europe, expressed her honor at being appointed as the inaugural President of the CCCEU Finance Working Group. She pledged to take tangible steps to unify Chinese financial institutions in Europe, serving as a conduit for capital circulation and advancing the mutual opening of Chinese and European markets. Looking ahead, the CCCEU Finance Working Group aims to leverage the complementary strengths of both markets and resources to foster a more expansive development landscape. It will stay true to its founding principles, leading financial liberalization efforts, striving for high-quality development amid complex conditions, prioritizing risk management for robust internationalization, and actively advocating for enhanced international influence in economic and financial governance.

The inauguration ceremony of the CCCEU Finance Working Group was hosted by Fang Dongkui, Secretary General of the CCCEU.

"Fasten the China-Europe Connection: Cross-border Renminbi and Beyond" Forum takes place

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On the afternoon of 23rd, following the inauguration of the CCCEU Finance Working Group, the "Fasten the China-Europe Connection: Cross-border Renminbi and Beyond" Forum was successfully held.

Ms. Li Li, Chairwoman of ICBC Europe and President of the CCCEU Finance Working Group, delivered the forum's opening speech. She noted the deepening bilateral economic and trade exchanges over the past two decades since the establishment of the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and the EU. Highlighting an average daily trade volume surpassing 2.3 billion euros and the emergence of new growth sectors such as lithium batteries, new energy vehicles, and photovoltaic products, she emphasized these as evidence that cooperation between China and the EU outweighs competition, and consensus prevails over differences.

Ambassador Hua told the audience that China has now created the world's biggest banking sector and second-largest insurance marketplace; expanding financial opening-up not just helps to drive the high-quality development of China's economic growth, grow its financial sector, and create a new paradigm of development.

"As of the end of 2023, foreign banks had opened 41 corporate banks, 116 branches (including of banks from Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan), and 132 representative offices in China. Their operational institutions had totalled 888, with 3.86 trillion yuan in assets. In addition, overseas insurers had established 67 operational institutions and 70 representative offices in China. Total insurance assets in foreign hands had reached 2.4 trillion yuan, which represents 10% of the market share of China's insurance industry,"Hua noted.

As China's financial opening-up continues to expand and accelerate, the renminbi (RMB) takes on a stronger global presence and assumes more functions of an international currency. That ensures major opportunities to benefit from and huge potential to tap into, the ambassador continued.

"In China-Europe business cooperation, more efforts should be made on cross-border RMB payment, investment, and transaction, as well as its role as a store of value, so that such cooperation and cross-border use of RMB can intertwine and advance together, "Hua said.

During his address, Minister Peng Gang emphasized that amidst the tumultuous international landscape, China and Europe, as significant players in the multipolar world, should assume a more active and constructive role.

He urged both entities to collaborate in promoting global peace, stability, and prosperity. The robust strategic communication between Chinese and European leaders has not only outlined a blueprint but also injected fresh momentum into China-EU relations, thereby instilling greater stability and certainty into the global arena.

Peng underscored the pivotal role of finance as the lifeblood of the real economy, highlighting financial cooperation as a crucial component of China-EU economic and trade collaboration. Looking ahead, he expressed hope that Chinese and European enterprises would seize opportunities, demonstrate confidence, collaborate closely, and make substantial contributions to advancing China-EU economic and trade cooperation in the coming year.

In his address, the CCCEU Chairman Xu Chen underscored the heightened significance of China-EU economic and trade relations amidst the intricacies of the global economic landscape.

Xu said as leading economies, China and the EU wield considerable influence in shaping the global economic terrain. The utilization of the RMB in cross-border transactions presents lucrative opportunities for enterprises in both regions. With the notable advancement of RMB internationalization, the already close economic ties between China and the EU are poised for further enhancement.

However, challenges persist in deepening financial integration and international cooperation. Chinese companies operating in Europe encounter issues such as regulatory disparities, steep compliance costs, and market access restrictions. Looking forward, Mr. Xu Chen expressed anticipation for continued innovation in financial services and fintech solutions by the Chinese and European business communities. Leveraging their respective strengths in the financial sector, he emphasized the need to intensify cooperation in areas such as RMB internationalization, green cross-border investment and financing, and financial product innovation.

Qiu Yunping, President of Deutsche Bank (China) Co., Ltd., and He Biqing, President of the Association of Chinese Enterprises in Belgium and Luxembourg, also delivered speeches. Keynote addresses were given by representatives from China Taiping Insurance, the China-Belgium Technology Center, BIL, the CCCEU, China Central Depository & Clearing Co., Ltd, and ICBC Head Office.

Following the keynote speeches, Mr. Fang Dongkui, the CCCEU Secretary General, delivered the closing speech. The forum welcomed over 100 guests, including government officials, business leaders, industry representatives, as well as journalists, both online and offline.