On 22nd March, 2022, an executive delegation from the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China (European Chamber) visited the Chengze Garden campus of the National School of Development (NSD) at Peking University, and had a closed-door round-table meeting with Professor YAO Yang, Dean of the NSD.
The European Chamber has been in contact with the NSD since 2008, such as co-holding lectures, round-table discussions, visits and other activities. This is the first time that corporate executives from member companies of the European Chamber came to the Chengze Garden, which was officially inaugurated as the campus of the NSD in September 2021.
The delegation from the European Chamber was led by its Vice President Mr. Guido Giacconi, and Ms. Ziting Zhang, Head of Government Affairs. Members of the delegation included CEOs, presidents and senior executives from some of the biggest EU companies in China.
Representatives from the NSD included Ms. Daisy Wang, Director of Corporate Relationship Department and Secretary General of CHO100, Dr. Maria Chai, Assistant Dean of BiMBA Business School of NSD and Director of the EMBA Center, Mr. Kelvin Yu, Director of the MBA Center and Career Development Department. Ms. Anna Zhang, Manager of Corporate Relationship Department and secretariat member of CHO100, presided over the event.
Ms. Ziting Zhang first reviewed the long-time friendship between the NSD and the European Chamber. She said that because of the recent geopolitical events and the EU-China relationship, it is very important for the EU companies to have a better understanding of the Chinese policies, and it’s a precious opportunity for them to learn from Prof. Yao about his insights and observations.
On behalf of the European Chamber, Mr Guido Giacconi made an opening remark. He found that the European Chamber’s efforts to ensure greater market access and a level playing field for European companies in China, coincide with the mission of the NSD, which is to play a significant role in China’s economic transition through policy advising and strategy planning. The global political and economic future is full of uncertainties, which greatly affect all the European companies. The European Chamber has been trying its best to update its members the economic trends in China and the world, and he believed the exchanges with the NSD would be beneficial for the members to understand more and deeper about what they concern most.
Prof. YAO Yang’s keynote speech focused on the new government policies and China’s growth prospects of the year 2022. He shared his observation that there are several new points in the Report on the Work of the Government delivered at the 5th Session of the 13th National People’s Congress on March 5th, including the beyond-expectation GDP growth target, lower tones on de-carbonization, loosening of the housing market policy, and limited emphasis on “common prosperity”. He pointed out that China’s economic growth is facing with three major challenges —— infrastructural investment is losing momentum; monetary expansion is becoming less effective; consumption is still decelerating.
He emphasized that consumption is the key to jump-start the economy, and effective measures are needed to boost consumption. As for the ways to promote consumption, his first suggestion is distributing cash to people in the form of digital currency, e.g. giving each person 1000 yuan with the requirement that they have to spend all within 3 months, which would greatly increase the scale of total consumption. Secondly, he suggested an improvement of the COVID policy, including targeted quarantine, no lockdown of cities or communities, removal of domestic travel bans, etc.
The keynote speech was followed by a round-table discussion. Prof. YAO Yang answered questions from the members of the delegation, concerning foreign investment in China and Chinese investment abroad, de-carbonization and green development, the major growth drivers for Chinese economy, new infrastructures development, etc.
After the discussion, Prof. YAO Yang and Mr. Guido Giacconi exchanged gifts and all participants had a group photo together.
The European Chamber delegation also had a campus tour in the Chengze Garden with the guide by representatives of the NSD. The Chengze Garden is a well-preserved royal garden of the Qing Dynasty with a history of more than 300 years. After renovation and rebuilding, it is now a combination of modern and ancient architectures, and is the site for the teaching and research of the NSD.
About the European Chamber
The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China was founded in 2000 by 51 member companies that shared a goal of establishing a common voice for the various business sectors of the European Union and European businesses operating in China. It is a members-driven, non-profit, fee-based organisation with a core structure of 26 Working Groups and 9 Fora representing European business in China. The European Chamber now has more than 1,700 members in 7 chapters operating in 9 cities: Beijing, Nanjing, Shanghai, Shenyang, South China (Guangzhou and Shenzhen), Southwest China (Chengdu, Chongqing) and Tianjin.
The Chamber is recognised by the European Commission and the Chinese Authorities as the official voice of European business in China. It is recognised as a Foreign Chamber of Commerce with the Ministry of Commerce and China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.
The National School of Development (NSD) at Peking University is a comprehensive college that offers a multidisciplinary environment for teaching and research in economics, management science, and public policy. Its predecessor, the China Centre for Economic Research (CCER) was established in 1994 by Professor Justin Yifu Lin and five other overseas-trained economists. Following its expansion of teaching and research, CCER was renamed the National School of Development in 2008.
The NSD has a strong faculty featuring domestically and globally recognized scholars such as Justin Yifu Lin, Qiren Zhou, Wen Hai, Weiying Zhang, Guoqing Song, Weifang Min, Yang Yao, Yiping Huang, Gordon Liu, Ling Li, Yaohui Zhao, Jun Fu, and Chunhua Chen. The NSD upholds Peking University’s values of inclusiveness and academic freedom; it promotes socially meaningful research in economics, management science, and public policy, and is committed to contributing to China’s economic and social progress.
The NSD is China’s leading institution that combines teaching, research and policy advising. It is an integral part of Peking University’s drive to become a world-class university.
(By: BAI Yao)