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Wuxi keen to strengthen ties with sister cities

Updated : 2021-12-09
(China Daily)

Wuxi, a city in Jiangsu province, will enhance cooperation with its international sister cities, said government officials, diplomats and entrepreneurs at a forum and a conference celebrating the 40th anniversary of such ties.

Several projects related to carbon reduction across various industries were also launched during the 10th Wuxi International Sister Cities Forum and the 2021 Wuxi International Industrial Cooperation Conference, which were held in Yixing, a county-level city in Wuxi, on Tuesday and Wednesday. They include a Sino-Dutch big data industrial platform, the China-ASEAN Environmental Protection Industry and Technology Cooperation Base, and other projects in the China-Europe Zero-Carbon Tech Park.

"This year marks the 40th anniversary of Wuxi's friendly exchanges with its sister cities," Zhao Jianjun, Wuxi's acting mayor, said at the opening of the forum. "We are presently accelerating industrial upgrading, promoting the liberalization of trade and investment, and hoping for more collaboration with our sister cities at a higher level."

While it used to be known as a major producer of rice, silk and textiles, Wuxi has emerged in the last few decades as a prolific manufacturer of electric motors, software, solar technology and bicycle parts.

Since Wuxi established its first sister city relationship with Akashi, Japan, in 1981, the city has gone on to forge relations with 50 foreign cities from 28 countries.

Zhao said the city has benefited from its cooperation with sister cities over the past four decades. Frequent exchanges, he added, have yielded friendship, trust and mutual development.

In January last year, when China was faced with the first wave of COVID-19, Akashi donated face masks and medical materials to support Wuxi. Four months later, when the pandemic hit Japan, Wuxi sent several batches of medical supplies to show its support for Akashi.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has hampered the exchanges between our two cities," Fusaho Izumi, the mayor of Akashi, said via video link. "But our care and support for each other highlight the strength of this friendship we have built."

Andrei Andreev, consul general of Belarus in Shanghai, said the forum is an important platform that facilitates interregional cooperation, noting that the two nations have launched the China-Belarus Year of Regions for 2021-2022.

"We strongly support partner ties and mutually beneficial cooperation between the Mogilev region and the Gomel region of Belarus and Jiangsu province of China, as well as the cooperation between Bobruysk and Wuxi related to the supply of high-quality Belarusian-made food and other products," Andreev said.

According to Wuxi's city government, more than 100 Fortune 500 companies have invested or set up operations in the city, with its trade volume on the brink of exceeding $100 billion this year.

Roger Xie, the business development director of Rolls-Royce China, who attended the forum's dialogue on carbon neutrality on Tuesday, spoke about the importance of international cooperation in tackling the problems brought by climate change.

"The Wuxi International Industrial Cooperation Conference provides us with good opportunities to meet local companies and discuss potential cooperation," he said.

Hartmut Michel, a Nobel laureate in chemistry and an honorary citizen of Wuxi, said: "I've been to many cities around the world. Wuxi has left a deep impression on me with its unique charm, rich historic details, as well as its energetic, industrious and patient approach to exploration.

"Entrepreneurs in Wuxi are intelligent and pragmatic. My team and I are willing to maintain a multidimensional cooperation relationship with Wuxi."

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