China, Netherlands have huge potential for cooperation: Vice President Han Zheng

Chinese Vice President Han Zheng (right) meets with Dutch Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra on Wednesday in Beijing. Photo: Xinhua

The economies of China and the Netherlands are highly complementary, with huge potential for cooperation and sound growth momentum in bilateral trade, said Chinese Vice President Han Zheng during a meeting with Dutch Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra on Wednesday in Beijing, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Han said that China is ready to work with the Netherlands to bring more benefits to the peoples of the two countries through practical cooperation in various fields.

China and the Netherlands are both supporters, participants and beneficiaries of economic globalization and free trade, Han said.

The two countries should take a long-term view, strengthen communication and exchanges, promote the stability and smooth flow of global industrial and supply chains, and focus on mutual benefit and win-win results to create better conditions for cooperation between companies in both countries, according to Han.

Hoekstra said that bilateral relations between the Netherlands and China are sound with remarkable cooperation results and broad prospects for development. The Netherlands is willing to maintain close exchanges with China and push forward bilateral relations.

Hoekstra’s visit shows that the Netherlands is seeking to stabilize bilateral relations and cooperation with China amid the current complex international environment, Cui Hongjian, director of the Department of European Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times on Wednesday, adding that this is also what China is looking for.

There have been some incidents affecting the bilateral relationship in recent times, under the US’ pressure on the Netherlands to join its crackdown on China’s chip industry.

The Netherlands’ government said in March it was planning new restrictions on exports of semiconductor technology to protect national security, Reuters reported.

In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said that China firmly opposes the move by the Netherlands as it interferes with and constrains normal trade between Chinese and Dutch firms through administrative means.

“From the perspective of maintaining its own interests, we hope the Dutch side will not follow a certain country in abusing export controls, and instead work with China in jointly maintaining the stability of global industrial supply chains, and the free and open international trade order, for the common interests of both countries and their companies,” Mao said.

In talks with Peter Wennink, CEO of Dutch chip-making equipment maker ASML in March, Chinese commerce minister Wang Wentao emphasized that China will unswervingly promote high-level opening-up and is willing to create a good business environment and provide efficient services for multinational companies including ASML.

The minister also said he hopes ASML will have firm confidence in trade and investment cooperation with China, make positive contributions to China-Netherlands economic and trade cooperation, and jointly maintain the stability of the global semiconductor industrial chain and supply chain.

China has a huge domestic market, which is of great significance for Western companies such as ASML. In 2022, ASML’s sales of DUV machines to China totaled 2.16 billion euros ($2.35 billion), accounting for 14 percent of the company’s total revenue, according to Reuters.

“It is hoped that the Netherlands will stick to its own stance more firmly and make moves based on its own interests. However, the incident should not be allowed to impact bilateral relations and maintaining exchanges is the main goal,” Cui said.

China-Netherlands trade reached $130.25 billion in 2022, up 12 percent year-on-year, according to data from China’s General Administration of Customs.

Global Times

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