A Chinese business delegation was warmly received on Wednesday by their Spanish hosts, who hailed the visit as an important step in deepening bilateral trade ties, and a good example of joint efforts to combat the impact of the global financial crisis.
Spanish and Chinese companies earlier in the day, signed more than 20 contracts and agreements worth about 320 million U.S. dollars, covering products from aircraft equipment and auto parts to seafood and wine.
More than 80 Chinese companies and some 100 Spanish enterprises took part in a Sino-Spanish economic and trade cooperation forum, where they explored the possibility of future cooperation.
After attending the forum and witnessing the signing of the deals, Spanish Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism Miguel Sebastian told Xinhua that he was "very satisfied" with the visit of the 200-member Chinese delegation, and he believed the trip was important to promoting bilateral trade ties.
"We are two market economies," he said, "The only way to promote trade and investment is to know each other. With these trips and meetings, we get to know each other. This is very important to the future of our bilateral relations."
The minister described the visit as "short but very constructive," saying that China is making an effort to address the imbalance in the Spanish-Chinese trade, which is welcomed by Spain.
He said the two sides had discussed not only exports of agricultural products to China, but also high-tech exports. "Spanish companies are eager to sell advanced technologies to China, and the government has no limitations (in this regard) at all," he said, citing renewable energy, railway systems and infrastructure.
Angel Martin Acebes, chief executive officer of the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade, said the Chinese mission was highly appreciated by Spanish enterprises.
Some Spanish businessmen were also impressed by the efficiency and speed with which the Chinese trade mission was set up. Barely one month after Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited Spain, China sent a team Wen had promised, and to honor its commitments. "This is almost unthinkable in Spain," a Spanish entrepreneur told Xinhua.
The Chinese delegation arrived in Madrid on the third leg of a four-nation trip. The Chinese entrepreneurs have visited Germany and Switzerland, where they signed more than 14 billion dollars worth of procurement deals covering products from vehicles, machinery to software and metals.
On Thursday the delegation leaves for London.