I was invited by Dongcheng District as one of the few foreigners in Beijing to be part of the CIFTIS online meeting on 4 September 2020, 8 pm. The 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) was co-hosted by the Ministry of Commerce and the Beijing Municipal Government and was held in Beijing from 4 to 9 September.
The online meeting was to join the “Global Trade in Services Summit”.
My official name posted was 北京大策略商业顾问有限公司范克高夫.
We were ordered to test the day before. The online meeting also offered English translation (and other languages). We were a total of over 300 online participants.
(You can see me in the upper left corner)
The keynote speech was of President Xi Jinping, I noted in particular his insistence on an “open and inclusive environment”.
That was later repeated by Premier Li Keqiang who pledged to develop a better and more open business environment to bolster confidence among foreign investors.
The Summit was featured in many media such as China Daily and South China Morning Post.
We could not provide feedback or comments during the CIFTIS online meeting, nobody could neither in the Summit.
I wish I could have given my 50 cents of comments to the President.
More about it in a new post. Stay tuned!
A major Chinese news agency asked me for my comments on the China Foreign Investment Law, in the middle of March. I tried to give a more honest approach keeping in mind the concerns of the small and medium foreign enterprises. Their voice is mostly ignored in favor of the bigger companies who have little choice but to play nice and avoid controversial remarks.
Not surprisingly, auto-censorship on the Chinese side could not let my contribution pass. Only favorable comments were welcome. And I refused to sugarcoat the issues.
It is actually not very constructive to improve the business environment if any meaningful dialogue is banned.
The most important comment I had left out: “Why is there a need for a China Foreign Investment Law anyway?” If foreigners set up a legal Chinese entity in China, why a different treatment? In the E.U. such as in Belgium no such law exists.
More than anything else, foreign companies want equal treatment and opportunities, while not all of our concerns were addressed in this law, it is time to move forward. We will closely monitor the FIL’s implementation to ensure that it is fully respected at all levels of government and in all corners of this country.
I already explained but just google it for more details.
The point I want to make is that this substance is not known and receives no attention. But the consequences of the ban have been dramatic for many foreign products entering China: all destroyed. You won’t read those stories in the press.
Dialogue is necessary
The European Chamber and Amcham, among others, are still keeping up their dialogue with the Chinese authorities to get rid of unfair rules and have scored progress for a range of products.
Also, the general feeling of Europeans (including me) is that China becoming a world power is not a threat as such; how it fulfills its role is another matter.
Much remains to be done to make the business environment open and fair. Indeed a painful issue is the unequal treatment of foreign businesses in general.
More about that later in other posts.
See here the text of an informal luncheon address by my friend Michael Graham, former EU official currently living in Beijing, looking at BREXIT in a historical context.
It was addressed in Beijing at a Chinese-American group on 6 March 2017.
BREXIT AND ITS CONSEQUENCES
PERCEPTIONS AND OUTLOOK IN THE UK AND IN EUROPE
Download here: 170306 Brexitspeechrev3
EU and Brexit
The well researched document gives a unique insight and provides historical data on how the EU was set up and evolved over the years, how the complex interactions between the UK and the rest of the EU changed, how it led to Brexit, and how it could affect the Brexit negotiations. It also explains the underlying causes that lead to the Brexit vote.
A senior ex-diplomat, a man who has spent a professional lifetime building up Britain’s trade and its credibility with investors, is aghast at what the Brexit chaos is doing to our reputation. “The core narrative of the country for the past 40 years has been that we’re stable and politically predictable; the ideal platform for investing into the single market,” he told me. “And now we’re rudderless and in a mess.”
Britain is not an economic powerhouse waiting to be liberated. We are a country of mediocre education and limited skills, whose preening vanity has prevented us from seeing our failings. Our membership in the European Union is not a set of restraints; it is what has been propping us up. If we insist on cutting ourselves off, parts of our economy will start to die.
All candidates up for election in the European Chamber of Commerce in China are capable and merit our vote. I am supporting Daniel Albrecht for vice president EUCCC simply because he stands up to do more for SMEs, an often neglected crowd in the Chamber and in top-level meetings. Mats Harborn is another strong candidate.
See here all candidates: http://agm.europeanchamber.com.cn/beijing/#candidates
After being an active member in the EUCCC since 2014 I decided to run for the position of Vice President of the European Chamber of Commerce in China (EUCCC).
This is the first time I run for a position on the Board of the EUCCC. I see this as a chance to bring fresh ideas and new energy into the chamber as a board member.
Through my professional experience in Beijing I have become familiar with problems affecting European SMEs such as general legal issues as well as IPR matters. As a small company I have encountered also the difficulties of working in China, being very different from issues faced by multinationals. For SMEs it is more difficult to get support from officials or other institutions due to a lack of a proper lobbying. My clients have been based in several European countries so I am familiar with their different needs and requirements.
I have more than ten years of China experience. In the past I worked for different Chinese and foreign law firms. I have been a member of the EUCCC since 2014, being active in the SME, IPR and CSR Working Groups. Since 2016 I have been helping the China SME IPR Help Desk as an external expert.
In my work for the Chamber, I have devoted myself to write comments and articles for the position papers and other publications and to try to contribute substantial input to change national regulations.
As a Vice president and advocate of the European SMEs I will focus on:
Strengthen the voice of European SMEs in China
Implement a nationwide network to defend the interests of the SMEs
Contribute to the effectiveness of our Chamber
Promote a strong European identify of the Chamber
Involve more European members
Daniel Albrecht, German attorney at law, married with a Chinese wife and has a 14-year -old daughter. As an attorney for more than ten years, he is a trusted lawyer of several embassies. Daniel used to be the founder, as well as a lawyer of DA-Legal, after practicing law in Germany, Japan and China, now he is running his own company, Starke, in China since 2014. With more than ten years’ experience in law area, especially in Chinese Law, he also acts as the external expert of EU China IPR SME Help Desk since 2016. Daniel has not only lots of work experience but also a number of academic experience in Law Field. Having experience as an invited lecturer in universities in Germany, he is now a guest professor of Civil Law of China University of Political Science and Law (CUPL) since 2016. During his career in law, he has published several articles aiming e-commerce, IPR and other law issues in Chinese, Japanese and German magazines.
Daniel also devotes himself to voluntary works. He had been the president of the China-German-Business-Network since 2009 to 2016. From 2015 to 2016, he was the president of the Rotary Club of Beijing. Daniel is also active in different chambers of commerce in China, of which related mostly to SME topics and activities. He always has enthusiasm for organization works and willing to exert efforts.
The professor is the author of “Death By China: How America Lost Its Manufacturing Base” (2011)
See the Official Version of the documentary (in China you need VPN):
I did watch the entire documentary and can only say it is pretty harsh on China and at least a part of his statements are simply dead wrong, e.g. his take on Apple and Foxconn.
However he could find some supporters in the foreign business community for some of his criticism. Anyway Chinese officials better not simply dismiss the whole thing but instead have a close look.
More from Navarro
Peter Navarro is a professor at the Merage School of Business at the University of California-Irvine. With a Masters of Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government and a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard, this distinguished macroeconomist has written extensively on Asia as well as lived and worked there.
It says there:
Will there be war with China? The Crouching Tiger book provides the most complete and accurate assessment of the probability of conflict between the United States and the rising Asian superpower. Equally important, it lays out an in-depth analysis of the possible pathways to peace. Written like a geopolitical detective story, the narrative encourages reader interaction by starting each chapter with an intriguing question that often challenge conventional wisdom. Based on interviews with more than thirty top experts, the author highlights a number of disturbing facts about China’s recent military buildup and the shifting balance of power in Asia: the Chinese are deploying game-changing “carrier killer” ballistic missiles; some of America’s supposed allies in Europe and Asia are selling highly lethal weapons systems to China in a perverse twist on globalization; and, on the U.S. side, debilitating cutbacks in the military budget send a message to the world that America is not serious about its “pivot to Asia.”
And so on.
Oh well, not planning to buy his book(s). Let’s see what he will really do. And good luck to him. He will need it.