On Monday 14 September, ChinaEU hosted a close-door lunch in Beijing with HQ representatives of some of the biggest Chinese commercial banks and senior representatives of the European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB), who embarked on a trip to Beijing to prepare for the visit of Vice-President Katainen at the end of September.
Attending the lunch, from left to right: Yuanyuan Wang, Financial Institutions Division Deputy Chief of China CITIC Bank, Mang Li, Corporate Banking Unit Deputy General Manager of Bank of China, Manuel Pinto, Deputy Management Adviser for IPE team of EIB, Thibault Heuzé, Financial Counsellor at the EU Delegation to China, Miguel Gil-Tertre, Member of Cabinet of VP Katainen, Virgil Nae, Head of EIB Representation to China, Claudia Vernotti, Director of ChinaEU, Alex Zhao, Regional Head of Specialized Financing department of ICBC, Sheng Wang, Head of Capital Financing of HSBC China, and Peter Weiss, Head of the Economic and Financial Section at the EU Delegation to China
During the informal lunch, discussions focused on giving Chinese commercial banks greater clarity on their possible participation in the Investment Plan for Europe (IPE) – also referred to as the “Juncker plan” from European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. The IPE is an ambitious program to unlock over 315bn EURO of investments in the real economy across the EU, with a view to supporting strategic investments in key areas such as infrastructure, education, research and innovation, as well as risk finance for small businesses. To improve the business environment and financing conditions, the IPE will include progress towards a Digital Single Market, Energy Union and Capital Markets Union.
The European Commission and the EIB team are following up on the conclusions of the EU-China Summit held in late June in Brussels, which highlighted the need to support synergies between the Investment Plan for Europe and The One Belt One Road Initiative – a large-scale initiative recently promoted by China’s President Xi Jinping to boost connectivity, trade and investments in infrastructures of the future across the Eurasian continent.
On this occasion, ChinaEU Director Claudia Vernotti introduced the work carried on by ChinaEU in the past eight months to support the development of innovative projects across Europe, by scouting promising projects at regional and city-level, providing technical support to the promoters of the projects, and favoring the financing coming from Chinese banks. “We currently have a dedicated team in Europe who works on building a project pipeline to be presented to those Chinese banks interested in increasing their investment activity in Europe. We have already identified a number of concrete projects, with an emphasis on digital solutions, both in infrastructure and services, and we are now seeking Chinese investors to co-finance these plans.”
Jyrki Katainen, European Commission Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investments and Competitiveness
Vice President Jyrki Katainen, leader of the project team “Jobs, Growth, Investments and Competitiveness”, will visit Beijing on 28 September, to inter alia co-chair the EU-China High-Level Economic and Trade Dialogue (HED), to be attended among others also by Gunther Oettinger, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society.
In November, Commissioner Jonathan Hill, responsible for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, who also follows the project team “Jobs, Growth, Investments and Competitiveness”, will head to China to bring forward the dialogue on the Investment Plan and to pursue discussions on the global financial agenda.