GUIYANG, June 28 (Xinhua) -- Officials in southwest China's Guizhou Province are strengthening environmental cooperation with Switzerland in the hope that the province can become an oriental version of the European country.
At the ongoing Eco Forum global annual conference in Guiyang, capital of Guizhou, Chinese and Swiss officials have discussed environmental cooperation in depth. "We can learn from Switzerland in terms of both environmental protection and cleaning up our environment," said Chen Min' er, Guizhou governor.
China's Environment Minister Chen Jining said earlier this month that "the Chinese environment is reaching, or has reached, its limit due to years of sprawling development at the price of the environment."
China is desperate to learn from the west, particularly Guizhou, which shares many similarities with Switzerland, including a healthy tourism sector and a mountainous landscape. Swiss environmental multinationals are interested the Chinese market, especially in inland areas where there is little competition.
"We started investing in Guizhou a few years ago, and I see a very strong future here," Diego Salmeron, CEO of LEP Consultants AG, said at the forum. His country, he said, has a lot to offer in terms of clean technology.
Relations between China and Switzerland have been on the up in a variety of sectors. A free trade pact went into effect last year.
"Swiss environmental companies have been doing booming business here in China," said Thomas Wagner, president of the Swiss-Chinese association. "For example, Cleantech Switzerland is doing excellently in wastewater treatment and renewable energy here, and LEP helped protect an ancient tea route in Yunnan Province."
Doubtless, there will be more opportunities. China has declared environmental work an important part of the evaluation of officials'work at the local level, making environmental businesses even more attractive in China.
"Together, I believe we can transform Guizhou into a new Switzerland of the east, while building a greener and more prosperous China," said Chen Min'er.