Minister Schultz visits China
Minister Schultz of Infrastructure and the Environment will be making a working visit to Beijing from Monday 26 September to Wednesday 28 September. Her delegation will include representatives from several Dutch companies, knowledge institutes (including Deltares) and Rijkswaterstaat (the executive branch of the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment). Minister Schultz is making the visit at the invitation of China’s Minister of Water Resources. The focus of the visit will be on the existing cooperation with her fellow ministers: Mr Chen Lei, Minister of Water Resources and Mr Li Xiaopeng, Minister of Transport.
On Monday, Minister Schultz will meet with her colleague Mr Chen Lei, Minister of Water Resources to discuss and agree on the continuation of the longstandig Sino-Dutch water cooperation. They will sign a new Memorandum of Understanding. Under this new multi-year agreement, Rijkswaterstaat will be working with businesses and knowledge institutes on further developing the Sino-Dutch water innovation agenda. At the same time, the agreement could offer the Dutch business community new opportunities on the Chinese market.
Together with Minister Chen Lei, Minister Schultz will also open a Water Seminar, focused on the further exploration of issues on the innovation agenda. Later in the week, Minister Schultz will visit the Huaihe River. The river basin here closely resembles that of the Rhine, but the difference in climate means that flood risk management and water availability issues are much more severe here. This makes the Huaihe an excellent reference for the Rhine. The Netherlands and China are already conducting research together and sharing knowledge regarding flooding and dyke integrity. Collaboration on low discharges and drought is on the agenda for the near future.
During the meeting with Transport Minister Li Xiaopeng, the two Ministers will sign a partnership agreement on transport and road infrastructure. One of the items that will be tackled jointly is self-driving cars. Minister Schultz sees many advantages in Autonomous driving. The expectation is that self-driving vehicles will prove to be safer. Tens of thousands of people are involved in road accidents in Europe every year. Ninety percent of car accidents are caused by human error. Moreover, self-driving vehicles consume less fuel, which is not only good for the environment but also for the wallet. In addition, self-driving vehicles ensure that traffic flows more smoothly on the road and elderly people can stay mobile for longer.
On Tuesday 27 September, Minister Schultz will visit Tsinghua University, one of the best known universities in China, to encourage sharing knowledge of this field and to promote the Netherlands as a testing ground. These developments will be discussed from a government, university and company view.