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Interview: Greek expert says China-EU investment agreement vital for global competitiveness

Interview: Greek expert says China-EU investment agreement vital for global competitiveness

Author: From:Xinhua Update:2021-07-03 23:41:31

ATHENS, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- The China-EU Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI), awaiting approval in writing, will be important for the global competitiveness and growth of EU industry and EU entrepreneurship in general, a Greek expert told Xinhua in a recent interview on the future prospects of bilateral cooperation.

On Dec. 30 2020, China and the European Union (EU) announced the completion of the investment agreement negotiations as scheduled.

The agreement will be one of the most ambitious deals China has ever concluded with a third party, said Dimitris Filippidis, head of Unit-Innovation Programs Management at PRAXI Network which provides a bridge between research and industry in Greece. PRAXI has been promoting cooperation with China over the past years.

"This agreement will ensure that EU investors achieve better access to the fast-growing consumer market in China and they will be able to compete on a better level playing field in China," Filippidis said. "This of course is greatly important, vastly important for the global competitiveness and future of growth of EU industry and EU entrepreneurship in general."

"From our experience over the years, we have realized that there is a number of common challenges that stakeholders from both sides face and it is important to handle these together and have meaningful communication with each other in order to solve them," Filippidis said.

As regards investment opportunities, the CAI will open a new chapter, but in research and innovation cooperation between the two parties, there are established mechanisms in place for several years, he said.

"Cooperation between Europe and China in research and innovation is a long-lasting one. It didn't start 3 or 4 years ago. It started in 1998 and it is moving on the right track," Filippidis said.

In this bridge-building, PRAXI Network holds a significant role in Greece in the research, development and innovation (RDI) field. It has coordinated in the country a series of EU-funded projects aimed to enhance RDI cooperation between EU and China.

Among them, as part of the Horizon 2020 (H2020) EU framework program for research and innovation, was the European Research Innovation Center of Excellence in China (ERICENA) project implemented between 2017 and 2020 which aimed to promote EU science and technology innovation in China, Filippidis explained.

PRAXI Network has also been a leading partner in the ongoing ENRICH in China initiative (European Network of Research and Innovation Centers and Hubs in China), launched in 2017 in order to establish a research and innovation center in China.

With an office in Beijing and a regional hub in Chengdu in southwest China's Sichuan province, ENRICH in China still facilitates the efforts of European research and innovation stakeholders who want to enter the Chinese market in creating synergies and cooperation opportunities with their Chinese counterparts, although it no longer receives funding by the European Commission under H2020, he added.

"ENRICH (in China) aims to promote European research and innovation to a wide range of Chinese stakeholders by connecting and supporting European researchers, businesses and entrepreneurs in the Chinese market," according to an ENRICH in China video.

About 60 Greek stakeholders -- including large companies, small- and medium-sized enterprises, startups, universities, research organizations and innovation agencies interested mainly in manufacturing and construction, maritime, health services and Information and Communication Technologies -- have benefited over the last three years from the services provided by ENRICH in China, such as webinars, training workshops and matchmaking tools, Filippidis said.

One of the key results of both the ERICENA and ENRICH initiatives was the creation of a rich network of over 125 European and Chinese organizations, including universities, research organizations, funding agencies, research councils and private companies that communicate with one another, he said. Enditem

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