Putting 2019 Into Perspective

European Chamber holds its Annual General Meeting

The European Chamber’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) took place on 28th May 2020. Due to the circumstances brought about by the coronavirus outbreak, the AGM was conducted online for the first time ever, which had the added benefit of allowing all members to participate.

Keynote speech by European Union Ambassador

The meeting was opened by the European Union (EU) Ambassador to China, His Excellency Nicolas Chapuis. He wished the Chamber a happy birthday and praised the recent series of VIP webinars hosted by the Chamber, which would conclude after the AGM. The ambassador said the high profiles of the webinar guests showed the reach of the European Chamber. He went on to speak about the requirements the EU will ask of China to ensure a strong relationship: rebalancing market access, a level playing field with regard to state-owned enterprises and meaningful progress on sustainable development.

Report by Chamber president

European Chamber President Jörg Wuttke delivered the annual report for 2019. He said the goal for the year had been to put the Chamber “back on the map”, and the organisation now has a number of achievements to show for it. Pivotal to these successes have been the Chamber’s three ‘pillars’ – advocacy, business intelligence and community:

  • 55 high-level and 221 working-level meetings with Chinese authorities, and 24 high-level and 62 working-level meetings with European institutions and business associations
  • More than 400 events, with a cumulative total of over 15,500 participants
  • A year-on-year increase of more than two per cent in total membership
  • An unprecedented 774 original media mentions worldwide
  • World-class content through national publications, local reports and ad hoc surveys.

President Wuttke did not just focus on 2019, but also addressed the global crisis the COVID-19 pandemic has caused in 2020:

“Looking ahead to the remainder of 2020, we are preparing for key events, like high-level visits to China from the European Union (EU) and member state leaders, as well as the EU-China summit set for Leipzig in September. However, we also anticipate many other challenges down the road. Now more than ever, European companies need to be engaged with government stakeholders both in China and back home.”

European Chamber President Jörg Wuttke

Local chapter chairs’ reports

Following President Wuttke’s address, each of the chairs of the local chapters gave a brief presentation on the major achievements of their teams.

Bernhard Weber, chair, Nanjing Chapter Board, spoke about the chapter’s second local Position Paper, which was released in 2019, as well as the continuing success of their regular events; the Nanjing Municipal Government Dialogue, the Innovation Fair and the Corporate Social Responsibility Awards.

Carlo D’Andrea, vice president, European Chamber and chair, Shanghai Chapter Board, highlighted the chapter’s continued growth in membership, which he said the Shanghai team had even managed to achieve during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Harald Kumpfert, chair, Shenyang Chapter Board, said that while some smaller members had been lost as a result of COVID-19, the chapter had a very strong and loyal membership base.

George Lau, vice president, European Chamber and chair, South China Chapter Board, also spoke about the success of their local Position Paper in 2019, which encouraged Guangdong to go from “locally good to globally great”.

Paul Sives, chair, Southwest China Chapter Board, emphasised the chapter’s strong connection with the local government, which means that when members have a local issue, the chapter can get something done about it.

Cheung Yup Fan, chair, Tianjin Chapter Board, noted the success of the Tianjin Government Dialogue, at which Chamber representatives were able to raise 20 issues of concern directly with local government officials and get immediate feedback.

By-election of treasurer

As the Chamber’s treasurer, elected in 2019, stepped down from his role earlier this year, a by-election was held at the AGM to select a treasurer for the remainder of the current term. Marko Tulus, Sandvik, a Swedish-based high-tech and global engineering group with about 2,500 employees in China, was the sole candidate. Mr Tulus is the chief financial officer of Sandvik, and has previous experience in leading finance, manufacturing and supply chain, and marketing functions at either global or regional levels over the past 20 years. Mr Tulus also presented the Chamber’s financial report to the members attending the event.

New European Chamber vice president

The European Chamber was also delighted to welcome a new vice president to the Executive Committee. Paul Sives, chair of the Southwest Chapter, joined the ranks of vice presidents as his chapter’s membership had grown to account for 10 per cent of the Chamber’s total. This is the first time a chair of the Southwest China Chapter has become a vice president of the European Chamber since the Chengdu office was opened in 2005.

Mr Sives’ addition is a promising start to the Chamber’s next 20 years, and the vice president from the Southwest Chapter will no doubt play a large part in advocating for the future of our organisation.