BRUSSELS, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) -- The Sino-Belgian cooperation was "diverse and fruitful" in 2012, said Chinese Ambassador to Belgium Liao Liqiang on Saturday.
At a reception for the Chinese Year of the Snake, he noted that Belgium remained the sixth largest trading partner of China in the European Union (EU) last year, while China was the second largest trading partner of Belgium outside the EU.
Foreign direct investment between the two countries has increased rapidly, said the ambassador.
Belgian brewery InBev AB shares one eighth of the Chinese market and Umicore catalysts, one third of the Chinese market. In late 2012, the Belgian investment in China totaled 1.3 billion U.S. dollars, and Chinese companies have reached the milestone of 200 million dollars by their direct investment in Belgium. In addition, China and Belgium have jointly established last year a third industry investment fund.
Last year, the first Chinese business incubator abroad was located in Louvain-la-Neuve, both for Chinese companies interested by the European market and for European ones wishing to enter the Chinese market.
The biggest technopolis in China, Z-Park, also opened a representative office in Brussels. Belgium provided China with good agricultural species and agronomic technologies. Furthermore, Belgium took part in a project dealing with smog in China through a EU platform.
Recalling the visit of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Vice Premier Li Keqiang and State Councilor Liu Yandong in Belgium in 2012, as well as Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders and Minister-President of the Walloon Government Rudy Demotte in China, Liao said China would consider Belgium as a partner for long term cooperation and a bridgehead for Sino-European cooperation.
Last year, China signed an educational cooperation agreement with the Flanders and cultural cooperation agreements with Flanders and Wallonia. A delegation of presidents of 30 Chinese universities conducted a visit to Belgium. Wen and his Belgian counterpart Elio Di Rupo reached an agreement on the establishment of a Chinese cultural center in Brussels.
Before the reception, Prime Minister Di Rupo sent a message of congratulations to Ambassador Liao. In the message, he expressed "best wishes to the Chinese people and its new direction, and hope that we will continue deepening the excellent relations between our two countries."
During the Chinese New Year, the Flemish television VRT sent a group to Guizhou Province, southwest China, to shoot folkloric festivities. French television RTBF broadcast for its part documentary series "Knowing China by the taste," which presents Chinese food and civilization.