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Chinese government honors NRW.INVEST CEO Petra Wassner with the National Friendship Award

Düsseldorf/Beijing, 29 September 2016 - Petra Wassner, CEO of the state-owned economic development agency NRW.INVEST, has received the National Friendship Award of the People's Republic of China. The award is regarded as the highest national honor for foreign experts who contribute to the economic and social development of the country. Wassner is one of a total of 50 experts from 18 countries to receive the certificate and a medal from Vice Premier Ma Kai at a ceremony in the Zhongnanhai, the headquarters of the government of the People's Republic of China. Every year, a panel of specialists from the Chinese government chooses the experts in an extensive selection process.

Minister Garrelt Duin: "Congratulations to Petra Wassner: In the early 2000s, she already had the foresight to lay the foundation for what is now the largest Chinese economic community in Germany. It is thanks to her commitment that more than 900 Chinese companies are represented in NRW."

Petra Wassner has been honored in recognition of her 15 years of work to expand Sino-German economic relations. She received the award in particular for the settlement of investors and the establishment of an infrastructure for Chinese companies in NRW. As CEO of NRW.INVEST she has established five representative offices in China which advise Chinese companies on their investment projects in NRW. In 2015, 86 companies from China settled in NRW, and in 2016 there are already 72. NRW is regarded as the No. 1 investment location for Chinese companies in Germany.

The two-day awards ceremony program includes a symposium as well as a discussion between the award winners and Chinese experts. To conclude the event, a state banquet in the Great Hall of the People takes place with Prime Minister Li Keqiang. The application for the National Friendship Award was submitted by the Trade Department of the Chinese Embassy in Berlin. It was supported by, among others, the Chinese Consulate General in Düsseldorf, the Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China (MOFCOM), the National Development and Reform Commission of the People's Republic of China (NDRC), the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the People's Republic of China (MIIT) and SAFEA – State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs.