Understanding China Conference 2023

  • Date
    24 October 2023 - 25 October 2023
  • Location
    Brussels & Online
  • Venue
    Renaissance Brussels Hotel 19 Rue du Parnasse, 1050 Brussels
  • Open to
    All Stakeholders of the EU SME Centre

The EU SME Centre’s annual flagship event, the Understanding China Conference, will be back in Brussels on 24 and 25 October. On the first day, policymakers from the EU institutions, economists, industry experts, and think-tank analysts will share their insights into EU-China trade relations, China’s economic outlook and policy environment and how these factors impact European SMEs.

The second day of the Conference will include sessions on specific issues faced by SMEs, as well as presentations on IPR protection and market entry paths, with case studies of enterprises already active in the Chinese market.


Day 1

24 October 2023

8:30 – 9:00

Registration at the venue

9:00 – 9:30

Opening remarks
– Igor Kalinic, Head of Sector, European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency – EISMEA, European Commission
– Renzo Isler, Coordinator of the Consortium, EU SME Centre Phase IV; Secretary General, China-Italy Chamber of Commerce
– Fabrice Terrac, Deputy Head of Unit, DG GROW, European Commission

9:30 – 11:00

China’s Economic Outlook
Keynote speakers and panellists:
– Alicia Garcia-Herrero, Chief Economist for Asia Pacific, Natixis
– Agatha Kratz, Director, Rhodium Group
– François Chimits, Analyst, Mercator Institute for China Studies – MERICS

Panel discussion moderator:
Adam Dunnett, Secretary General, European Union Chamber of Commerce in China

11:00 – 11:15

Coffee break

11:15 – 12:45

EU-China Trade Relations
Keynote speakers and panellists:
– Eva Valle Lagares, Head of Unit Far East, DG Trade, European Commission
– Lin Goethals, Director, European Institute for Asian Studies
– Tudor P. Fabian, Policy Advisor to INTA Vice-Chair & MEP Iuliu Winkler (EPP/RO)

Panel discussion moderator:

Liam Jia, Team Lead, EU SME Centre

12:45 – 14:00

Standing lunch

14:00 – 15:30

Policy Environment and Business Confidence
Keynote speakers and panellists:
– Ester Cañada Amela, Advocacy Manager, EU SME Centre
– Bernardo Mendia, Secretary General, Portugal-China Chamber of Commerce & Industry – CCILC
– Marco Bettin, Director General, Italy-China Council Foundation – ICCF; Vice Chairman, EU-China Business Association – EUCBA

Panel discussion moderator:
Gwenn Sonck, Executive Director, EU-China Business Association – EUCBA

15:30 – 15:45

Coffee break

15:45 – 17:00

Technology, Innovation and R&D in China and Impacts on EU SMEs
Keynote speakers:
– John Lee, Director, East West Futures Consulting
– Jeroen Groenewegen-Lau, Head Program Science, Technology and Innovation, Mercator Institute for China Studies – MERICS

Panel discussion moderator:
Alessio Petino, Business Advisor, EU SME Centre

17:00 – 19:00

Networking cocktail

Day 2

25 October 2023

8:30 – 9:00

Registration at the venue

9:00 – 10:00

New Trends and Developments & Interacting with Partners in China
Keynote speaker:
Alessio Petino, Business Advisor, EU SME Centre

Discussion moderator:
Davide Orlandi, EU Partnerships Manager, EU SME Centre

10:00 – 10:45

Intellectual Property Rights Protection in China
Keynote speaker:
Simon Cheetham, Team Leader, China IP SME Helpdesk; Managing Director, Erinyes International Ltd

10:45 – 11:00

Coffee break

11:00 – 12:30

EU SMEs in China: Case Studies and Success Stories
Speakers and panellists:
René Bos, Exhibition Manager Aquatech China, RAI Amsterdam
Roland Brouwer, Regional Director (Europe), BIPO
Timo Helosuo, Chairman, Finland-China Business Association

Panel discussion moderator:

Alessio Petino, Business Advisor, EU SME Centre

How to Register

To attend the Understanding China Conference onsite in Brussels or online, please fill in the contact form or contact our EU Partnerships Manager Davide Orlandi.

Please note that due to limited seating at the venue, in-person attendance will be confirmed on a first come, first served basis.

About the Understanding China Conference

The Understanding China Conference is a two-day annual series of keynote presentations, panel discussions, and workshops organised since 2011 by the EU SME Centre. The Conference’s objective is to inform stakeholders on the most recent developments and trends observed in China and discuss potential impacts on European small and medium-sized enterprises.

This event has been developed for intermediary organisations in Europe such as government agencies, industry associations, business support organisations (BSOs), trade promotion organisations (TPOs), chambers of commerce, and clusters.

Participation is free of charge and all sessions are organised in English. For more information about the Conference, please contact our EU Partnerships Manager Davide Orlandi.


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