Anne Rulliat, Consule générale de France à Shenyang
How long have you been in China?
Before taking up my current position on 1st October, I had spent many of the past 20 years in China. This has allowed me to witness the changes in China over these years. As this is my first posting in the northeast region of China, I’m excited to face new challenges and opportunities. In this regard, it has been good to have the European Chamber Shenyang Chapter, both for exchanges through shared analysis and networking. Moreover, members from the Shenyang chapter have been very welcoming.
What are your relations with the European Chamber’s Shenyang Chapter?
Looking back to when I was a student China-watcher, then a young professional following Chinese affairs, I’ve always been a reader of the Chamber’s Position Paper. That was my first—indirect—encounter with the Chamber. Recently, for the release of the European Business in China Position Paper 2019/2020, I had the pleasure and honour to participate in panel discussions in Shenyang. In the northeastern part of China, only two European countries have consulates – France and Germany. Therefore, German and French companies are the core members of the European Chamber Shenyang chapter. The European Chamber is indeed an asset for our companies in this region and helps them to voice their needs and concerns to the local authorities. As a diplomatic mission, we play an active role in assisting our French community and in particular our business community. Through constructive dialogue with the European Chamber and our Chinese counterparts, our voice can be heard at a political level.
How do you see the European factor in the north-eastern part of China? What can you tell us about the presence of French enterprises there?
We have a thriving and diverse French business community in Dongbei. The diversity of the French business is reflected here in their status, whether it is wholly French-owned, like Michelin—which has its biggest plant in Shenyang—Holophane in Dalian, Veolia in Harbin or joint ventures with Chinese enterprises like Faurecia in Changchun, Renault in Shenyang, or Airbus in Harbin. French entrepreneurs also created their own businesses in the northeast, like ODC Marine or DCT Wines in Dalian. The French business community’s diversity is also reflected in the sectors represented; mainly the automotive sector, but also agriculture, insurance, retail, naval construction, and food and beverage. All of them are very dedicated to the region. The French presence in Dongbei is not only based on the economy; we also organise a wide range of events in the educational and cultural fields (e.g. Festival Croisements and Music Day). Environmental issues are at the crossroads of the economy, culture and education: it’s a major subject we’re going to work on in Dongbei and promote cooperation among all stakeholders. French enterprises and entrepreneurs—as their European partners—need a favorable business environment to continue to invest in the Dongbei region, and that’s what we, with our European partners, are all aiming at. In these uncertain times, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and its economic consequences, we’ll certainly need more cooperation and solidarity to adapt to the challenges in the coming months.Anne Rulliat, Consule générale de France à Shenyang