Chinese Trade Mission recap: Great opportunity to strengthen ties with China

As part of a delegation of over 70 Dutch companies and organizations, the WestHolland Foreign Investment Agency (WFIA) joined Prime Minister Mark Rutte to China in order to strengthen economic and diplomatic ties between China and The Netherlands.

China Trade Mission
The Netherlands is China‘s third largest trading partner in the EU. At present, there are more than 1,000 Dutch companies operating in China, while more than 500 Chinese companies have branches in the Netherlands. In 2014, mutual trade between the two countries totaled almost 44 billion euros ($47.90 billion). Despite social and cultural differences between China and the Netherlands, Prime Minister Rutte believes that the two nations have much in common. “Our spirit of enterprise, our culture of innovation, our pragmatic mindset and result-based approach. We‘re always looking for the best solutions to current and future challenges,” he said.
At present, approximately 3,000 Netherlands citizens work and live in Shanghai. The city is also home to over 800 businesses that are directly or indirectly based in the Netherlands.

According to Prime Minister Rutte, Shanghai plays a special role in the relationship between China and the Netherlands, home to Europe‘s biggest port in Rotterdam. “Shanghai is an economic hot spot to rival any in the world. This city alone generates no less than one-eighth of China‘s total income. It‘s bursting with energy. You feel that as soon as you land here. It‘s a vibrant city with enviable growth figures and with great potential for international businesses, thanks in part to the Free Trade Zone,” Rutte said during his speech in Shanghai, China.

Tong Ren Tang
On behalf of the Municipality of The Hague, WFIA signed a Letter of Intent with Tong Ren Tang, a leading traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) company in China. Founded in 1669, the company is headquartered in Beijing, and is engaged in both production and retail. Tong Ren Tang aims to use The Hague as its future gateway to Europe for its TCM products. The signing ceremony was witnessed by the Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Minister Mansveld, Ambassador Jacobi and Commissioner Jeroen Nijland from Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA). During the trade mission, more than 50 contracts were signed between Dutch and Chinese companies, which again shows the interest of Chinese investors.
Picture: Marleen Zuijderhoudt (Executive Director WFIA) shaking hands with Mr. Ji Guangfei (Director of Tong Ren Tang) after signing the Letter of Intent with Tong Ren Tang

The Headquarters of Huawei, a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider, were also visited by Prime Minister Mark Rutte and the WFIA in order to strengthen ties with Huawei. The Prime Minister stressed the importance of Huawei in the digitalization of our country during his visit. “The company builds 4G networks, provides intranet to Municipalities and Wi-Fi for the Amsterdam Arena”. Established in Amsterdam, Amstelveen en Voorburg, Huawei currently employs over 650 employees, of which 1 in 8 has locally been recruited. WFIA was closely involved advising and assisting Huawei with their move from Amsterdam to The Hague region in 2008 and their current location in Voorburg.

Picture: Prime Minister Mark Rutte at Huawei Headquarters

Along with other business promotion activities, WFIA cooperated with the Netherlands Council of Trade Promotion (NCH) in advising, organizing and facilitating visits to the Hangzhou E-commerce Industrial Park and the headquarters of Alibaba, currently one of the largest e-commerce companies in the world. The Hangzou E-commerce Industrial Park held a presentation of how the park works and how this could benefit Dutch entrepreneurs who would like to export products from Holland to China in the near future.

Led by VNO-NCW Chairman Hans de Boer, Marleen Zuijderhoudt (Executive Director of The WestHolland Foreign Investment Agency) also participated in a round-table discussion with twelve top entrepreneurs about innovative power. Shanghai eyes to profile itself as an important center for research & development, for which it targets future cooperation with The Netherlands. A good example of this potential is the cooperation between Fokker and the Chinese aerospace engineering company COMAC. Furthermore, topics such as air pollution and renewables were discussed.

To discuss a.o. The Hague Region and its economic outlook PM Mark Rutte visited mister Xu Qin, Vice Mayor of Shenzhen, during his stay in Shenzhen. Since 2014, The City of The Hague and Shenzhen became official partnering cities in the field of Economy, Education and Tourism.

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