Export ambassador on mission to green China

New government will prioritise green economic cooperation with China, says Danish export ambassador.New gover nment will prioritise green economic cooperation with China, says Danish export ambassador.

After serving as a cabinet member, European Commissioner and finally mayor of Copenhagen, Ritt Bjerregaard is taking to the international scene as export ambassador to China


The new government will push green economic co-operation with China, Denmark’s export ambassador to China Ritt Bjerregaard said in advance of her week-long visit to China, which started on Sunday


The former city mayor, who is tasked with improving Denmark’s trade and investment co-operation with the world’s second-biggest economy, said she will champion investment and collaboration in clean technology during the visit.


“I think energy and environment will be very, very high on the list of priorities,” Bjerregaard said of Sino-Danish investment cooperation.


These sectors, according to Bjerregaard, are also a priority for Denmark’s new Social Democrat-led coalition government.


“It is absolutely clear to the new government that they need to pay a lot of attention to what we call sustainability: areas such as low-energy consumption, renewable energies, environment and waste treatment,” Bjerregaard told China’s Xinhua News in an exclusive interview.


Danish companies have a history of innovation and market dominance in green technologies like wind turbines, temperature control systems, low-energy pumps, and water treatment and sanitation systems, and Bjerregaard’s visit coincides with a major wind power exhibition.


Bjerregaard, who served as mayor of Copenhagen until 2009, herself has a good understanding of both environment and food safety policies as she previously served as the EU commissioner for environment, and as a former Danish minister for food, agriculture and fisheries.
Bjerregaard has hosted a number of Chinese trade delegations and companies in Denmark since being appointed export ambassador in June, and made her first official trip to China in August. Now she is keen to open up new joint ventures.


Denmark has a head start in the development of this technology and is encouraging the use of household waste, agricultural biomass, geo-thermal heat and other renewable energy sources to power district heating plants.


“What Denmark can compete on is the very high standard of its clean technology industry,” Bjerregaard said. “For many products, we could also be a very good test case.”


Yet despite the head start, Danish companies could find themselves struggling to compete with the Chinese, and other firms from emerging markets, which already enjoy a competitive advantage in manufacturing, and are rapidly becoming better innovators as well.


“I would say that it is very nice to see this development in China – from moving away from only being able to manufacture, to now having a very, very high standard of research and development,” Bjerregaard said.


Denmark recently appointed five export ambassadors responsible for expanding trade cooperation with the BRIC nations – Brazil, Russia, China and India – and other emerging markets such as Indonesia, South Africa and Turkey.


According to the Foreign Ministry, exports to BRIC countries contributed only five percent of Denmark’s overall exports, based on 2009 data.
Meanwhile, the Confederation of Danish Industry said the country’s total exports could rise 14 percent by 2030, with exports to China comprising nine percent of that figure, making it Denmark’s third-largest trade partner.


 

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