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First China-Belgium Innovation Dialogue Held

The first China-Belgium Innovation Dialogue was held in Brussels on March 30, 2017. Huang Wei, Chinese Vice Minister of Science and Technology; Zuhal Demir, Belgian State Secretary for Science and Technology, and Qu Xing, Chinese Ambassador to Belgium, addressed the event. Also present were some 150 representatives from the two countries’ central and local governments, universities, research institutes, high-tech parks, industry alliances, investment institutions, technology transfer institutions as well as innovative businesses. The Dialogue is a vice-ministerial mechanism sponsored by the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology and the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office.

The two sides discussed policies on science, technology and innovation (STI), reviewed best practices and made extensive exchanges on S&T personnel mobility and high-tech park cooperation. They signed a series of MOUs and agreed to strengthen practical STI cooperation.

Vice Minister Huang gave a detailed account of China’s latest STI policies. He pointed out that bilateral cooperation has shifted from government-led collaboration in basic research to growing public-private partnerships that cover the entire chain of research and innovation. The transition has laid a solid foundation for sustainable economic and social development of the two countries. Friendly ties between China and Belgium offer a good basis of STI cooperation. Belgium is open to international science & technology cooperation, and the two countries can work together in many fields. The first Innovation Dialogue provides a good opportunity for business sectors from both sides to have a better understanding of each other.

Secretary Demir said since Belgium and China signed an inter-governmental agreement on science and technology cooperation in 1979, the bilateral joint committee on S&T cooperation has held regular sessions to review past achievements and explore new models of cooperation. Both sides stress STI-driven development, and encourage science communities to be more open in the dealing of global challenges.

Ambassador Qu Xing said China and Belgium are highly complementary in science, technology and innovation, and the Innovation Dialogue will be a historic breakthrough to provide powerful impetus to deepened pragmatic cooperation.

At the ensuing STI forum, representatives from both sides had in-depth discussions and engaged in B2B partnership events in priority areas of cooperation such as the future industry, life sciences, aerospace and aviation.

The Dialogue is a high-level strategic event between the Chinese and Belgium governments as well as their research institutes and enterprises. The conclusion of the first session indicates this cooperation mechanism has been officially established, laying a solid foundation for the two sides to conduct regular high-level dialogues in the future.