Report by Annabelle Duval
On November 14th, European Guanxi had the pleasure to host Lorenzo Riccardi in the event of the organisation’s fourth webinar that focused on Chinese investment opportunities in Europe. The managing director of RSA Asia based in Shanghai, Riccardi is very active with the international community in China. He has published several books on taxation and investment in the Far East region.
Riccardi began his conference drawing a comprehensive picture of European states’ national GDPs and their weight in the region. He underlined that smaller countries in terms of economy, population, size, territory, or primary business sectors are still of international relevance, in particular to China. Indeed, President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to Monaco in 2019 confirming its political relevance despite being one of Europe’s smallest states.
The speaker then presented China’s Foreign Direct Investment practices and strategies across the globe. While pointing out that China has been focusing on what he calls “new regions”. At the European level, Eastern states are growing as a distinct bloc and a significant economic partner to China. One way China assures its political and economic relevance in Europe is through agreements such as the China and Central and Eastern European Countries 17+1, and the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment. Additionally China has concluded free trade agreements with European states outside of the European Union: Iceland and Switzerland.
To conclude his presentation, Riccardi elaborated on the Chinese-led Belt and Road Initiative, officially launched in 2016 in Europe. In March 2019, Italy was the first EU founder state and G7 country to become a member of the BRI. At the heart of the Belt and Road is the notion of lateral relations and agreements. It is without surprise that Chinese implementing direct relationships with European states without formally engaging at the regional level will in turn greatly impact the regional coalition.
The subsequent Q&A brought forward some insightful comments from our guest. The exchanges addressed the topics of European integration efforts and the impact of lateral agreements with China; the relevance of culture in trade and investment; European diversity both a strength and a weakness; consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic; 5G and Huawei; and the inevitable US election outcome. And many more!
Should you be interested in hearing more about Lorenzo Riccardi’s expertise on Chinese Investment practices, this webinar and all of European Guanxi’s events are available on our YouTube Channel.