BEIJING, November 26, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- As the recent G20-summit has shown, economic exchange and mutual understanding between the European Union and China need to be fostered in a sustainable way. While most countries suffered heavily under the financial crisis, China has managed to strengthen its domestic market, becoming the third-largest economy in the world, accounting for 7.5 percent of the world's total economic activity. In order to retain a competitive edge, European companies more than ever have to tap the potential the Chinese market offers and develop business relations with China. To enable this - even for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) that mostly lack resources - the European Commission provides specific assistance: qualified executive trainings and special contact points to access the Chinese market.

In 2006, the European Commission and the government of China established the EU-China Managers Exchange and Training Programme (METP). Within the past four years, more than 170 European managers seized the chance to join the programme and become experts for the Chinese market. Currently, the fifth and final intake is taking place with 52 executives from 22 different EU member states. "By combining an intensive Chinese language course with management and intercultural trainings as well as study tours and company visits in China, participants are familiarised with Chinese language and culture, become accustomed to differences in business practice and establish valuable business contacts," says Dr. Stefan Hell, METP team leader in Beijing.

While METP will end in 2011, in accordance with its initial design as an ODA project, the European Commission's Enterprise Europe Network recently opened 10 contact points in China, giving European SMEs easier access to this attractive market. During the Network's third annual conference, European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani underlined its importance: "European small businesses drive growth and create jobs. As markets become global, an increasing share of SMEs will turn their ideas and energy into exports outside their own countries or the EU. There are huge opportunities for SMEs in large trading partners like China, and the Enterprise Europe Network can help smooth the way." The Network is a key part of the EU's Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme, which aims to encourage competitiveness in European businesses.

For further information about METP: and about the Enterprise Europe Network:

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The EU-China Managers Exchange and Training Programme (METP) is a five-year intergovernmental cooperation project between the European Commission and the Government of the People's Republic of China. Placed within the dynamic context of continuously evolving relations between the EU and China, the non-profit programme is designed to enhance business expertise by developing European and Chinese human resources. METP aims to train and financially support internships for 450 Chinese managers in the EU and European managers in China. The programme is implemented by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade from 2006 to 2011, and total funding from the EC and the Government of China is 23 million Euros.

The Enterprise Europe Network was launched in February 2008 by the European Commission and is a key part of the EU's Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme, which aims to encourage competitiveness in European businesses. It offers practical support and advice to more than two million European small businesses, helping them to make the most of international opportunities and start exporting. Spanning 47 countries, including EU Member States and candidate countries, the US, Russia, China, Mexico and South Korea, the Network is well placed to help SMEs trade outside national and EU borders. The services are delivered through 589 specialist business and technology organisations with 3,000 expert staff members. The Network also provides information on EU legislation and funding, offers advice on how to develop an innovative idea and helps companies to increase their chances of success when applying for EU funding.

Enquiries: MSL Steffi Fahjen, Tel.: +49-69-66-12-456-8394 E-Mail:

SOURCE: EU-China Managers Exchange and Training Programme

CONTACT: Enquiries: MSL, Steffi Fahjen, Tel.: +49-69-66-12-456-8394,E-Mail: