The 2nd China-Sweden Business
Forum was held in Stockholm on September 28, 2018, in order to promote
exchanges and heighten awareness of China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI).
It was also designed to
showcase how the BRI could benefit Sweden and the rest of the world.
In his opening speech, Chinese
Ambassador to Sweden Gui Congyou shared the news that a Belt and Road cargo
shipment from Sweden to China had departed by train the week before. The rail
link connects Insjön in Dalarna to Ganzhou in eastern China’s Jiangxi Province,
via Gothenburg and Hamburg.
In his presentation, Stephen
Brawer, vice chairman of the Belt and Road Executive Group in Sweden,
referenced a world map that showed where and how every continent will be
connected in the future, with links reaching out to America and Australia.
He then reviewed the Forum on
China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), which was held in Beijing in early September.
During the event, 53 African nations linked up with BRI to fulfil the African
Union’s Agenda 2063 for continent-wide modern infrastructure network and
Kitty Smyth, a UK strategy and
PR senior adviser for Sino-European public relations, said that the BRI,
launched by President Xi Jinping in 2013, has a philosophical dimension of
creating harmony. She then spoke about how it could "foster a new type of
international relations" and "forge partnerships of dialogue with no
confrontation and of friendship rather than alliance".
Smyth advised Sweden to
establish institutions capable of developing long term BRI cooperation with
China, just as the UK had done through an office for the BRI-related Asian
Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a regional cooperation mechanism called
Northern Powerhouse, the all parliamentary China-UK group, and the government´s
Permanent Envoy to the BRI.
However, working with China can
sometimes be challenging due to cultural differences, as Wu Ying, a Chinese
entrepreneur in Sweden, pointed out at the forum. By offering a number of
examples of problems she has encountered while assisting her Swedish clients
with matters pertaining to the Chinese market, she demonstrated the need for
further understanding in Sweden of the importance of the BRI and the
opportunities it opens up.
The business forum was
co-hosted by the China-Sweden Business Council (CSBC) and the Belt & Road
Executive Group in Sweden (BRIX). Around 100 people took part in the event.