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Putian hosts EU-China Forum on Sustainable Urban Development

( chinadaily.com.cn )

Updated: 2017-04-07

The 2017 EU-China Forum on Sustainable Urban Development ran in Putian city, Fujian, March 19 – 21. Government officials, researchers, and corporate representatives from China and Europe attended the event.

The forum was founded by the National Development and Reform Commission in 2013 following the signing of the Joint Declaration on the EU-China Partnership on Urbanization in 2012, which opened a new chapter for bilateral cooperation in urbanization.

This year’s forum was organized by the China Center for Urban Development of the National Development and Reform Commission, Eurocities, JPI Urban Europe, and the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China.

With a theme of “cooperation, innovation and action”, the forum included talks on innovation in investment and financing, low-carbon urban development, development of small towns with unique competitive strengths, and sustainable use of resources in urban areas. It also encompassed a signing ceremony for cooperative projects.

Sideline events included match-making for companies, a symposium on co-development and the Belt and Road Initiative and field trips across Putian.

Putian Mayor Li Jianhui said that the prefecture-level city has been focusing on urban development that is livable and environmentally-friendly, and that he hopes to learn from European cities’ urban development experience.

Fan Hengshan, deputy secretary-general of the National Development and Reform Commission, said that China’s urbanization rate reached 57.35 percent in 2016 and is estimated to exceed 60 percent by 2020. However this growing momentum is checked by China’s basic situations of overpopulation, shortage of resources and limited environmental capacity.

Fan suggested that China should introduce European technology and experience in urban development and management and clean energy. On the other hand, China’s expertise in infrastructure construction could be utilized in European countries.

Qiao Runling, deputy director of the China Center for Urban Development, suggested that China should learn from Europe’s experience in protection and promotion of traditional culture in the process of urbanization.

According to Gregory Morchiladze, Secretary-General of the Georgia-China Friendship Association, the Belt and Road Initiative is taking roots in Georgia as evidenced by the increasing numbers of Chinese investors active in the country.

China and Georgia completed the free trade zone negotiation in October, China’s first step in establishing a network of free trade zones in the Eurasian region.

According to Florian Schmied, Chairman of the European Union Sustainable Urbanization Association, China’s urban residents will reach one billion by 2030, an unprecedented speed of urbanization in the country. Schmied predicted that along with increased urbanization, China’s growing middle-class population will be a vast market for consumer products from Europe.

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