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Second EU Cities Mission to China

The second mission of EU cities to China took place from 21 to 28 September 2019 – with delegates from the following European cities: Barcelona (Spain), Bologna (Italy), Granada (Spain), Manchester (UK), Mannheim (Germany) and Rome (Italy). The programme begun with a visit to Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, at the heart of the Pearl River Delta. As the most populous city in Southern China and part of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area, Guangzhou is known for its advanced manufacturing industries, namely automobiles, electronics and petrochemicals. It serves as a major port and transportation hub in Southern China.

The EU delegates visited the Guangzhou Development District (GDD), one of the top three of the more than 200 development zones in China. The GDD has various national industrial bases and parks in areas such as electronic information and new materials, e-commerce, and intelligent equipment. Since 2014, the GDD has been a pilot region of the EU-China Regional Cooperation Mechanism. Visits to the Guangzhou Science City Exhibition Plaza and the Guangdong MINO Automotive Equipment were part of the programme. After a courtesy call with the GDD leadership, the delegates from the EU and China congregated in the EU-China Project Matching and Smart-Town Cooperation Workshop to explore and deepen collaboration. Representatives from characteristic towns of other cities in Guangdong Province expressed strong interests in smart-town cooperation with EU cities.

Other visits included nearby Beijiao Town in Foshan City, known for excellence in industrial design, and Liuzhou, an important industrial city and one of the five automobile bases in China. Liuzhou was IUC pilot city in 2018. Delegates took the opportunity to build on the cooperation momentum after the first fact-finding mission in June 2019. Concrete cooperation projects were discussed in fields such as smart city/eco city, vocational training and education, and innovation cooperation. Towards the end of the meetings, four MoUs were signed:

  • 22@ Committee Barcelona, FREE Network Italy and Liuzhou Northern Ecological New District signed an MoU on building a China-EU industry cooperation pilot area.
  • Konigsweg GmbH from Mannheim and Liuzhou Human Resources and Social Security Bureau signed an MoU on vocational training and smart lab.
  • CITERA of Sapienza University of Rome and Liuzhou Vocational and Technical College, CITERA of Sapienza University of Rome and Liuzhou City Vocational College signed two MoUs separately on vocational education and training.

Highlight of the Second EU Mission to China was the participation in the 2019 EU-China Green and Smart City Summit & EU-China Green and Smart City Awards in Nanning, Guangxi Province. The Summit was hosted by the China Centre for Urban Development (CCUC), the Foundation Prospective and Innovation together with the Guangxi Provincial Government. It was the fourth summit, following previous events in Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Ningbo, in which 300 cities from 32 countries and regions in China and Europe participated. The EU-China Green and Smart City Summit is known as the most successful platform to foster green and smart city cooperation and exchange.

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