China-Europe Co-operative Business Summit 2015
The All-China Federation for Supply and Marketing of Co-operatives hosted the inaugural co-operative summit in Shanghai on 9-11 December, where they welcomed delegations from national co-operative associations from Europe. The Summit was co-organized with Cooperatives Europe – ICA Europe Region and the ICA Asia-Pacific Region.
The welcome speeches were given by Li Chunsheng – ICA Asia-Pacific President and ACFSMC Vice-President, as host, and by Petar Stefanov – Consumer Co-operatives Worldwide (CCW) President and Cooperatives Europe – ICA Europe Region Vice-President.
A special focus therein was given to the fact that 2015 marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the European Union and China, which have been laid out throughout the decades via mutually considerate and peaceful diplomacy, forward-looking business partnership and a persistent joint effort in reaching economic and social progress.
The co-operative movements from both sides share common goals, which lead them on the search for reciprocity and mutual benefit in their relations, as together, the two continents represent ¼ of the global population and 1/3 of the world economic output.
In his speech, Petar Stefanov placed the timing of the COOP Summit within the wider context of the recently held 4th China – CEE Countries Summit in Suzhou, China, where governments from 16 Central and Eastern European countries meet with China’s leaders with the aim of discussing closer economic and trade collaboration, all in the name of elevating their citizens’ prosperity. Following this example, the co-operative leaders from both continents have come together with the ultimate mission of bettering the lives of the millions of co-operative members they represent.
Cooperatives Europe unites and provides the voice of 83 national co-operatives organizations from 32 nations, which represent 160,000 co-operatives and their 123 million individual members. Together, they employ 5,4 million European citizens.
ICA Asia-Pacific Region brings together 80 national co-operative organizations from 25 countries. Li Chunsheng shared his strong satisfaction of the practical implementation of the 6th co-operative principle – cooperation amongst co-operatives by the COOP Summit and offered his optimism for constructive discussions by all participants with the aim of reaching practical outcomes for paving the way for future collaboration.
The CCW President added to this by underlining the strategic advantage of the co-operative business model, stemming from its nature – its inherent closeness to its members. This means that co-operatives are best placed to respond to people’s needs and interests, but also to provide a collective mechanism to overcoming their challenges and to work for the benefit of society as a whole by improving people’s lives.
The ICA Blueprint foresees intensifying cooperation with the aim of streamlining the efforts of the global co-operative movement in the promotion of the co-operative business model. Therefore, the COOP Business Summit provides a forum for national co-operative organizations to discuss and take concrete steps in the realization of this important project - "COOP Europe to COOP China 2020".
Within the framework of the 2-day Summit, European co-operative organizations from UK, Italy, Bulgaria, France, Estonia, and Israel held bilateral business talks with representatives of the All-China Federation for Supply and Marketing of Co-operatives, namely in the sectors of manufacturing, agriculture and processing of agricultural produce, and retail, as ACFSMC has an extensive network of highly-modern retail outlets throughout the country.
A focal point of interest and potential collaboration was the newly-established China Co-op e-commerce platform for B2B and B2C trade, which could offer European co-operative goods and services in the future.
China Co-op enjoys leading positions in the sphere of export of agricultural produce, daily consumer products, household electrical appliances, fertilizers; but they are now looking for increasing the import of such items with the aim of widening their co-operative assortments to the benefit of their consumer-members.
For 2014, the total turnover stemming from China Co-op’s import-export activities amount to 10 billion USD.
The European co-operative delegation visited the head office of the Ningbo Haitian International Trade Group Co. – an affiliate of China Co-op, and several China Co-op retail outlets in the cities of Shangyu and Ningbo City, Zhejiang Province.
Petar Stefanov made an official proposal that the China-Europe COOP Business Summit be held every year on a venue reciprocal basis of the between China and Europe with the aim of increasing the co-operative participants from the two continents.
Li Chunsheng and Petar Stefanov closed the two-day Summit by declaring their will to commit the two ICA Regions to join efforts in finding a shared path to prosperity, solidarity, friendship and respect, which albeit long and arduous, is a path which symbolizes the true nature of co-operatives; and shared two Chinese proverbs: “It is much better to get up and do something practical, than to sit and just talk”, and that “A good start is half the job done”.
All-China Federation for Supply and Marketing of Co-operatives /ACFSMC/
Unites and represents:
24 950 co-operatives in 32 provinces
160 million individual members
2,14 million work places