On Wednesday, January 27th, 2021, SME Connect UK organized the Webcast “Europe-China Economic Future in a Post-Covid World – A Competitive Relationship” in order to evaluate the opportunities trade and investment offer to both partners in the aftermath of COVID19’

 The webcast featured a welcome by Anthea McIntyre, President of SME Connect UK and MEP for the West Midlands and a debate between Dr Christopher Leitl, President Eurochambres and author of “China am Ziel! Europa am Ende”, Georgios Kyrtsos MEP, ECON Committee and author of “In the Labyrinth of the Pandemic”, Graham Jeal, Co-founder Blockchain Century and author of “Made it in China”, as well as Zhou Wei, CEO and Founder of Xnode. The webinar was moderated by Thomas Spannring, Secretary General of SME Connect UK. 

In her welcome speech, Anthea McIntyre set the scene remarking both the importance of reliable, strong supply chains for SMEs, especially after COVID19, and the necessity to uphold human rights.

During the debate, Christoph Leitl urged countries to work together and think practically without remaining entangled in endless political discourse: SMEs can function as “the link between the European Union and the rest of the world.” Focusing on the grassroots level will ensure international cooperation, peace, stability and economic recovery globally. 

Bringing forward the institutional perspective, Georgios Kyrtsos MEP emphasized the cathartic role that the pandemic played in regard to digitalization: it accelerated widespread uptake of technology but Europe still lags behind China and the United States, the two global digital superpowers. 

Echoing Christopher Leitl’s vision, Graham Jeal highlighted the importance of engaging at a bilateral grassroots level to create economic growth. “Business is not only done in London, Brussels or Shanghai,” he remarked. 

Lastly, Zhou Wei, whose business itself represents a link between China and the rest of the world, concluded by remarking the importance of working together and engaging productively with each other to create a better world. “From cultural differences, to climate protection, to intellectual property rights, Europe has a lot to teach to China.”

Ultimately, in order for SMEs to remain competitive and expand their reach internationally, it’s necessary to establish and follow common rules aimed at the development of innovation and the promotion of fair and just competition among all players.