A family wearing face masks pose for pictures next to the figure of an ox in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province on February 10, 2021, ahead of the biggest holiday of the year, the Lunar New Year, which ushers in the Year of the Ox on February 12. LEHTIKUVA / AFP

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COVID-19 pandemic hit hard the global economy in the past year. The international community are going through the worst recession since the end of the Second World War. Industries and businesses of all countries have been mired in difficulties of varying degrees. Stability and economic recovery have become a common task for us all.

Facing such crisis, China has focused on balancing COVID response and economic and social development, and adopted a series of timely, decisive and effective measures. Such endeavours produced good results at a reasonable cost. the Chinese economy achieved steady recovery at a relatively fast pace, registering a year-round growth of 2.3%, making China the only major economy to gain a positive growth since the outbreak of COVID-19. International institutions such as the IMF and OECD predict a yearly growth of China’s economy of about 8% and with contribution to the world economy of more than one-third in 2021.

The strong resilience and vitality that China’s economy has shown in hardships cannot be divorced from the persistence of years in opening-up and continued integration into the world economy. The pandemic does not shut China’s door of opening-up. On the contrary, the door only opens even wider. Based on the new development stage and with the application of the new development philosophy, China will foster a new development paradigm with domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other, in order to unleash the potential of the huge market and give further impetus into the global economy in the shadow of the pandemic. China is willing to share its development with other countries and achieve mutual benefits through win-win cooperation.

The cooperation between China and the EU is of great significance to the recovery of the global economy, which is also the common aspiration of business communities of both sides under the background of the ongoing pandemic. China and the EU recently announced that the China-EU investment agreement negotiations have completed on schedule, demonstrating the joint efforts the two sides have made in upholding international rules and enhancing practical cooperation. Last week the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang attended a virtual dialogue with European business leaders and exchanged in-depth views on China’s market and consumption,  China-Europe trade and investment cooperation, China’s business environment, COVID-19 response, climate change and other issues of mutual interest, which once again conveys China’s determination and sincerity. The entrepreneurs present at the meeting have cast a vote of confidence for the growth of the Chinese economy and China-Europe cooperation and expressed their commitment to strengthening cooperation with China and support for advancing the approval and full implementation of the investment agreement.

China and Finland maintain close exchanges and cooperation in the midst of the pandemic. Last year the food export of Finland to the Chinese market has witnessed substantial growth. As the Chinese ambassador to Finland, I often hear during conversations with the Finnish entrepreneurs that they are confident in China’s economy and our bilateral cooperation. In the post-pandemic era, China and Finland do enjoy great prospects for cooperation in green development, climate change and various areas.

As the virus continues spreading around the world, containing it effectively and creating more favourable conditions for economic recovery is the most pressing task for all countries. China announces the decision to provide 10 million doses of vaccine to COVAX, which is a concrete measure aimed at promoting international cooperation in fighting the pandemic. China will continue to make joint efforts with the European side and the international community to meet the challenges and promote the recovery of the global economy.

Chen Li

Ambassador of People's Republic of China in Finland

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This is a "Viewpoint" opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or position of The Helsinki Times.