Full text: Li's remarks at Fifth China, CEE Countries Economic and Trade Forum

2015-11-26 10:25Xinhua Editor: Mo Hong'e

Following is an English version of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's remarks at the Fifth China and Central and Eastern European Countries Economic and Trade Forum on Tuesday. [Special coverage]

Work Together to Open Up New Prospects for Win-Win Cooperation

Address by H.E. Li Keqiang

Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China

At the Fifth China and Central and Eastern European Countries Economic and Trade Forum

Suzhou, 24 November 2015

Dear Colleagues, Business Leaders, Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends,

This is the first time that China hosts the summit of China and Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC). The fact that we are attending the Fifth China and CEEC Economic and Trade Forum before the summit speaks to the high importance that leaders from the 17 countries place on practical cooperation. It also shows the strong political will of our countries to press for even greater progress in our economic and trade cooperation to boost our economies at home and improve the lives of our peoples.

The economic and trade forum has already been convened four times. Together with the Meeting of Heads of Government, the forum witnessed the growth and fruitful results of the 16+1 cooperation. It has become not only a bond and bridge of friendship but also an important platform for economic and trade cooperation between China and Europe. Despite the weak global economy and sluggish world trade, practical cooperation between China and CEE countries has kept a good momentum. Two-way trade in 2014 exceeded 60 billion U.S. dollars, setting a new record, and China's import from CEE countries rose by 77.4 percent from the 2010 level. Both figures signify a high degree of mutual political trust between the two sides as well as the immense potential in our trade and investment. Investment in both ways is steadily growing. Chinese companies are very eager to invest in CEE countries. Their investment stock in CEE countries has surpassed 5 billion U.S. dollars, and their destination countries and investment modalities have become more diverse. Businesses from CEE countries are also investing in more sectors in China. Major cooperation projects are moving ahead steadily. Forty percent of the total business generated by contracted projects undertaken by Chinese companies in Europe are in CEE countries. The Belgrade bridge over the Danube has been completed and opened to traffic, marking the completion of the first major project undertaken by China in CEE countries. Other projects undertaken by Chinese companies such as power plants, highways and flood prevention works are moving ahead rapidly. There is an old saying in China, "Those who don't think, acquire nothing; those who don't act, achieve nothing." Indeed, such achievements would not have been possible without the strong support from the governments and the pioneering and unremitting efforts of the business communities and business leaders of both sides.

At present, China is partnering with other countries to advance the Belt and Road initiative. As the 16 CEE countries account for one fourth of the countries along the routes, there is a lot we can do to further synergize our development strategies. In the coming five years, China will strive to attain the goal of completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects. It is also an important period for the implementation of the China-EU 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation. Right after this forum, I will join leaders from the 16 CEE countries in a formal meeting. We will adopt the Medium-Term Agenda for Cooperation Between China and Central and Eastern European Countries and the Suzhou Guidelines for Cooperation to map out the blueprint for our future cooperation. They are plans to open up broader prospects for our cooperation and bring more benefits to the business communities of the two sides.

Here, I wish to share with you some thoughts on further deepening China-CEEC comprehensive cooperation.

First, we need to push for early completion of connectivity projects. One of the priorities of the 16+1 cooperation is to strengthen regional transport infrastructure in synergy with the Belt and Road initiative. China is ready to synergize its development plans with those of CEE countries. We will make every effort to advance the flagship project of the Budapest-Belgrade railway link and make sure that construction will start within the year and will end in two years' time. China would also like to push forward the project of the China-Europe Land-Sea Express Line with the relevant parties on a win-win basis so that the CEE region will be able to facilitate rapid transit of trade between China and Europe. Companies from all countries are welcome to join the effort and explore the possibility of logistics cooperation. China's reform and opening-up program started with its coastal regions. So we have rich experience and a strong capacity in port construction and port zone development. China is ready to invest in ports and port zone development in CEE countries to enhance land and sea links. What's more, we can leverage China's strength in Internet equipment and technologies and relative low cost and meet the need of CEE countries and engage in Internet infrastructure cooperation to promote Internet connectivity.


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