Speech of Annette Nijs, Former Dutch Cabinet Minister for Education, Culture and Science

Annette Nijs,

Global Vice Chairman Asia Pacific CEO Association, Founder The China Agenda, Chair of Business School Netherlands, Former Dutch Cabinet Minister for Education, Culture and Science



8th June 2020


Our world is changing. Whereas Great Britain ruled the waves in the 19th century, the US dominated the 20th century. And this 21st century? One thing is clear: Chinas role becomes more and more important.

For us in Europe, it was relatively easy when the US took over from Great Britain. After all, we have more or less the same culture. This time it is different: China's culture is very different from ours. For us, China is hard to understand. And the size, the scale of China is overwhelming.  We need some time to come to terms with the fast-rising role of China on the global stage.

And there is yet another race. We are moving into the 4th Industrial Revolution. A time of fusion of technologies: smart homes, smart factories, smart cities, smart healthcare.

We all - US, Europe and China and may be others too - want to be the frontrunners of new innovation. We all want to be at the forefront of the new technology frontiers.

Will it be possible for all of us to be winners? Especially in the current world full of tensions - as we can read every day in the media?

In my view the answer is YES. It is our CHOICE, Or even better: It is our DUTY to make it a YES. I personally do believe that if we are willing to move forward together we all can be winners.

To be against international co-operation is to be against the essence of the current technology developments, which integrate 'everything with everything' and 'everything with everyone everywhere'.

Advancement needs international co-operation. Only if you put your own technology in a basket and invite others to do the same, it is possible to jointly develop breakthrough applications that make 1 + 1 more than 2. This way we can make 1 + 1 = 3 or even more.

In the US and unfortunately also in Europe, hesitation in sharing technology with Chinese partners is growing.

Still, we need international co-operation. A co-operation, which is organised in such a way that there is no doubt that all parties involved see themselves as winners. This means building an international coalition of the willing, where technology is shared by consent in a safe and trusted ecosystem.

This is also true for the health industry, the topic of todays forum: The Global Health Industry Co-operation Conference.

I welcome and applaud the initiative of Zhejiang Province to set up the Global Health Industry Cooperation System. It will boost the further development of the Greater Bay Area as well as that of overseas health care science parks and companies. 

And, of course  congratulations to the Asia-Pacific CEO Association for their energy in building this bridge between Zhejiang Province and the rest of the world.

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