[China and Belgium]
Relations between the People's Republic of China and the Kingdom of Belgium enjoyed sound momentum of growth in 2013, with deepening exchanges and cooperation in all fields.
The two countries enjoyed frequent high-level mutual visits and stronger political trust. From 24 to 27 September, NPC Vice Chairman Ji Bingxuan visited Belgium at the head of a delegation. He met separately with President of the Chamber of the Deputies Andre Flahaut, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Johan Vande Lanotte and Minister of Agriculture Sabine Laruelle, and exchanged views with them on bilateral relations, exchanges between legislative bodies, economy, trade, agricultural cooperation and China-Europe relations. On 25 October, Vice Premier Ma Kai visited Belgium, during which he met with Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo, and had talks with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Pension Alexander De Croo and Minister of Finance Koen Geens. On 31 May, Director of the General Administration of Sport Liu Peng visited Belgium, and met with Pierre-Olivier Beckers-Vieujant, Chairman of the Belgian Olympic Committee and member of the International Olympics Committee. From 10 to 13 September, Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo attended the seventh Summer Davos Forum in Dalian, China. Premier Li Keqiang met with him. From 18 to 22 May, President of the Chamber of Representatives of Belgium and former President of the Socialist Party André Flahaut visited China. NPC Chairman Zhang Dejiang, Minister of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee Wang Jiarui and Vice Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping met with him separately. From 21 to 23 April, Chairman of the francophone Reformative Movement Charles Michel attended the fourth China-Europe High-level Political Parties Forum in Suzhou, during which he met with CPPCC Vice Chairman and Minister of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee Wang Jiarui.
Belgium is China's sixth largest trading partner in the EU. China is Belgium's second largest trading partner outside the EU. Practical cooperation in economy and trade between the two countries developed steadily. Bilateral trade began to rebound after emerging from the negative impact of the economic crisis. Businesses from the two sides had a strong desire for closer cooperation and two-way investment surged. On 23 June, a delegation of China Entrepreneur Club visited Belgium and met with Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo. From 4 to 6 December, Queen Mathilde of Belgium attended the activities of the Business of Design Week in Hong Kong with Belgium as the Partner Country for 2013 and the Bi- City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture in Shenzhen. Travelling with her were several Belgian senior officials including Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and European Affairs Didier Reynders and Minister-President of the Flanders region Kris Peeters.
Cooperation deepened in people-to-people and cultural exchanges, science and technology, agriculture and other fields. In September, China Wildlife Conservation Association and the Pairi Daiza Park in Belgium signed the Agreement on the Conservation and Research of Giant Panda in Dalian. On 10 October, China and Belgium signed the Memorandum of Understanding on the Establishment of Cultural Center of China in Belgium. On 1 October, "Living the Chinese Taoist temple's rhythm of life: Chinese Taoist Festival" was held in Brussels. On 13 March, the 18th Meeting of China-Belgium (federal level) Joint Committee of Science and Technology Cooperation and the third Meeting of China-Belgium (Wallon- Brussels Region) Joint Committee of Science and Technology Cooperation were held in Brussels separately. On 27 June, the Belgium stop of China High-Tech Fair 2013 was held in Brussels. On 16 April, China and Belgium signed the protocol on quarantine and health requirements for horses to be exported from Belgium to China.
Exchanges at the local level kept expanding. Delegations from a number of provinces and cities including Henan, Anhui, Tianjin and Yangzhou visited Belgium. From 9 to 12 September, Minister-President of the Flanders region of Belgium Peeters visited China.
By the end of 2013, 26 pairs of provinces/cities from China and Belgium established sister relations.