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Premier Li urges closer co-op with Central, E Europe

2013-11-26 08:42 Xinhua Web Editor: Mo Hong'e

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang called for deeper practical cooperation with Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries on Monday ahead of a key meeting with leaders of the 16 countries.[Special coverage]

In a signed article published by major news media of CEE countries, Li said China and CEE countries enjoy great potential in economic and trade cooperation.

"As it stands now, trade between China and CEE countries is only equivalent to one-tenth of China-EU trade, and there remains huge potential to be tapped in expanding practical cooperation between the two sides," said the Chinese premier.

As China and CEE countries open up further to each other and eye more opportunities in each other's vast markets, such a shared vision has enabled their economic cooperation to prosper and produced new growth highlights, said Li.

The Chinese premier underlined agriculture, transportation, power generation, finance as key areas to expand practical cooperation between the two sides.

"CEE countries produce meat, dairy and wine products with high quality. China's urbanization will unleash greater demands for beef, lamb, cheese, wine and other products," said Li. "It will not be difficult for us to see exponential growth in agricultural trade."

"Most CEE countries see a need to upgrade and renovate their railway lines, roads, ports and other transportation facilities. China is making rapid progress in the manufacturing of transportation equipment, especially in the field of high-speed railway," said Li.

"We are fully capable of undertaking transportation infrastructure projects with high quality in CEE countries."

On electricity, Li said CEE countries have an urgent need to upgrade their power generation facilities, while China has world-standard equipment of coal-fired and hydro power stations, and mature technologies and manufacturing to develop nuclear, wind and solar energies.

"The equipment we offer is inexpensive and of high quality, which makes China an ideal choice for CEE countries," said Li.

China and CEE countries may also expand cooperation in infrastructure financing, open more financial branch institutions in each other's countries, sign more agreements on local currency swap and settlement, and provide more facilitation for trade and investment activities, according to Li.

The Chinese premier also highlighted cultural and people-to-people exchanges between China and CEE countries, which cover a wide range of areas.

"Learning Chinese, studying in China and appreciating Chinese art have become popular trends in CEE countries," he said.

Meanwhile, sightseeing in CEE countries is a new fashion among the Chinese people, said Li.

The Chinese premier noted that China and the 16 CEE countries are exploring the establishment of a tourism association to serve as a platform in facilitating two-way tourism.

"Tourism will become a major growth area in the people-to-people exchanges between us," said Li.

The Chinese premier also voiced firm support for European integration, and the decision of certain CEE countries to join the EU.

"We believe that comprehensive cooperation between China and CEE countries will not only serve the people of both sides but also lend fresh impetus to the sound, balanced and sustained growth of relations between China and Europe," said Li.

Cooperation between China and CEE countries has come a long way and left clear footprints, said Li. "I am confident that our cooperation will continue to be substantiated and expanded."

Li arrived here Monday for an official visit to Romania and a summit with leaders of 16 CEE countries -- Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Li Keqiang visits Romania, Uzbekistan

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