Sharing more than a passing interest in wind and pork
China is the largest pork consumer in the world, eating over 50 million tonnes annually. Denmark slaughters almost 15 million pigs a year, exporting 90 percent of its total output.
At the farms and restaurants therefore, it would make sense for the two countries to work with each other, but in the corridors of Christiansborg, there are hopes for so much more.
So as the delegation headed by Queen Margrethe returned from its five-day trip to China earlier this week, the country’s politicians had their fingers crossed it would be bringing home the bacon – figuratively of course as importing it back would make no sense at all!
An ambassadorial promise
Prior to the delegation leaving these shores, Liu Biwei, the Chinese ambassador to Denmark, professed his belief that the trip was going to be the start of a strong partnership.
“Denmark and China have a strategic partnership that is one step higher than a normal relationship,” he said, adding that he believed the trip would greatly solidify the partnership between the two countries.
China’s environmental pledge
Liu underlined China’s aim to become less dependent on fossil fuels and its desire to increase the amount of energy harnessed from wind turbines.
“China needs modern ideas,” he said. “We need new technology, new equipment and new ideas. Denmark needs a huge market. It is a win-win situation.”
The Chinese government aims to make environmental issues and pollution its main priority in 2014. “We will remove 50,000 commercial coal power plants … promote renewable energy vehicles, and will promote solar and wind power,” he added.
Addressing the imbalance
In the past, the Danish-Chinese relationship has seemingly been one-sided. While millions of Danish kroner have been invested in China, only 150 new jobs have been created in Denmark because of this partnership.
In recent times, Denmark has invested an estimated 14.3 billion kroner in China, contributing funds to around 815 projects.
China’s investment in Denmark is considerably smaller. And over the past year, it has even decreased. However, according to Liu, the partnership is only getting stronger.
“In 1950, trade to Denmark from China was only worth a little over 16 million kroner,” he said. In 2000, it was almost 5.56 billion kroner. And in 2013, it was almost 49.8 billion kroner.”
Bridging the culture gap
One example of China’s intent will be the opening of a new Chinese Cultural House at 36 Hans Christian Andersen Boulevard.
This centre, the first of its kind in the Nordic region, will offer language courses, film screenings, concerts and more. And there are also plans in the works to build a Danish cultural centre in Beijing.
China’s tourism in Denmark has grown by 30 percent in the past year to 140,000 tourists a year. As China’s only strategic partner in Scandinavia, Denmark has lots to offer China, according to Biwei.
“This is the beginning of our friendship, not the end,” he said.