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European Commission Expands Support Measures for European SMEs in China

Global News - Asia-Pacific

BEIJING – As the recent G20-summit has shown, economic exchange and mutual understanding between the European Union and China need to be fostered in a sustainable way. While most countries suffered heavily under the financial crisis, China has managed to strengthen its domestic market, becoming the third-largest economy in the world, accounting for 7.5 percent of the world's total economic activity. In order to retain a competitive edge, European companies more than ever have to tap the potential the Chinese market offers and develop business relations with China. To enable this - even for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) that mostly lack resources - the European Commission provides specific assistance: qualified executive trainings and special contact points to access the Chinese market.

In 2006, the European Commission and the government of China established the EU-China Managers Exchange and Training Programme (METP). Within the past four years, more than 170 European managers seized the chance to join the programme and become experts for the Chinese market. Currently, the fifth and final intake is taking place with 52 executives from 22 different EU member states. "By combining an intensive Chinese language course with management and intercultural trainings as well as study tours and company visits in China, participants are familiarised with Chinese language and culture, become accustomed to differences in business practice and establish valuable business contacts," says Dr. Stefan Hell, METP team leader in Beijing.

While METP will end in 2011, in accordance with its initial design as an ODA project, the European Commission's Enterprise Europe Network recently opened 10 contact points in China, giving European SMEs easier access to this attractive market. During the Network's third annual conference, European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani underlined its importance: "European small businesses drive growth and create jobs. As markets become global, an increasing share of SMEs will turn their ideas and energy into exports outside their own countries or the EU. There are huge opportunities for SMEs in large trading partners like China, and the Enterprise Europe Network can help smooth the way." The Network is a key part of the EU's Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme, which aims to encourage competitiveness in European businesses.

For further information about METP: www.metp.net.cn and about the Enterprise Europe Network: www.enterprise-europe-network.ec.europa.eu


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