The COVID-19 pandemic has been hanging around in the world for more than one year. Although we have seen some signs of relief, yet it is far from being over. While the whole world is trying to control the disease, everyone is also thinking about and planning for the blueprint for a post-pandemic era economic recovery.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, with the coordinated effort on both pandemic control and social-economic development, China has become the leading country to effectively curb the pandemic, and put all business and production activities back on track, which in turn provided the world with confidence and driving force in economic recovery. The Chinese economy grew by 2.3% last year, which is the only major world economy with positive growth rate. In the first quarter of this year, the economy went up by 18.3% compared with same period last year. Total import and export trade rose by 28.2% in the first five months this year over the corresponding period last year. Recently the World Bank and IMF adjusted their forecast for Chinese economic growth for 2021 up to 8.5% and 8.4% respectively. A survey conducted by the US-China Business Council found that nearly 70 percent of interviewed US companies were optimistic about the business prospects of the Chinese market in the next five years. Another survey done by the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China pointed out “the resilience of China’s market provided much-needed shelter for European companies amidst the storm of the COVID-19 pandemic.” Nearly 60% of respondents indicated that they are considering expanding their current China operations in 2021, which is 8% higher year-on-year. 51% of respondents reported that their profit margins in China were higher than their worldwide average, and 68% of respondents are optimistic about the business prospects in their own industries in the next two years.
The pandemic has prompted new business models, and brought about fresh dynamic into the economy. It also made us to ponder which direction and path we should take for the future development. More and more people realized we should not go back to the old path of “high pollution and high emission”, and must take a new path of green development. China has made clear commitment to reach peak carbon emission in 2030 and to realize carbon neutrality in 2060, and has announced the 14th Five-Year Programme and long-term goals by 2035, in which the sustainable and innovation-driven development was emphasized, aiming to build and perfect a green and low carbon circular economic system. Industries relating overall green transformation of the economy and society such as digital economy, climate change, transition of energy structure, environment protection, will be the key sectors. With the faster pace in fostering a new development pattern, constantly uplifting the level of opening-up, continuously improving the business environment, and pushing forward the construction of a new economic system with a higher standard opening-up, companies from all over the world including from Finland will find even bigger opportunities in China.
Currently the pandemic situation is improving in Finland, the society is opening up, and there have been good news in our bilateral exchange and cooperation in different fields. China has been Finland’s top trading partner in Asia for 18 consecutive years. In 2020, two way investment increased by a considerable margin. In the first quarter this year, Finnish export to and import from China increased by 21% and 16% respectively. There are some common beliefs for development that are shared between our two countries. Recently the trade/economic departments and the education departments of the two countries held ministerial dialogues. The meeting of China-Finland Committee for Innovative Enterprises also took place. I myself joined the annual meeting of the Finland-China Business Association and briefed the participants on Chinese economic situation, when again I deeply sensed the confidence and enthusiasm of Finnish people for deepening cooperation with China. I believe that the prospect of the resilience, vitality as well as the nature of the mutual benefit and win-win China-Finland cooperation will be further unveiled, which will contribute to the global green recovery in the post-pandemic era.
Ambassador of People's Republic of China in Finland
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.