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Chinese president: Sino-Croatian trade potential to be tapped
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09:24, June 21, 2009

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Chinese President Hu Jintao said here Saturday that there is potential to be tapped in trade between China and Croatia.

Hu, who was on a state visit to the southeastern European country, made the remarks when attending a trade seminar with his Croatian counterpart Stjepan Mesic.

"Even though China and Croatia are separated by mountains and rivers, the friendship between our two countries can be traced far back," Hu said in an address to the seminar.

China and Croatia forged diplomatic relations 17 years ago. Bilateral ties witnessed a rapid growth during the period. Dual-track trade volume was close to 1.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2008, a record-high figure or 42 folds more than that of 1993. Croatia has become China's largest trading partner in southeastern Europe.

Even so, "the trade volume was relatively small and thus there is potential to be tapped," he said.

Chinese President Hu Jintao (L) shakes hands with his Croatian counterpart Stjepan Mesic after their joint press conference in Zagreb, capital of Croatia, June 20, 2009.(Xinhua/Yao Dawei)

According to Hu, China's import volume has exceeded 1.13 trillion dollars in 2008.

"We welcome Croatian enterprises to promote your products through participating in trade fairs, increase export to China and promote balanced development for bilateral trade," Hu said.

To this end, Hu urged both sides to increase mutual trust in political areas for common development.

"We should enhance dialogue and expand consensus in line with the principle of mutual trust, mutual support and mutual benefit," he said.

Hu also called on entrepreneurs to enhance cooperation and develop new products meeting the other's market demands.

Efforts could also be made to expand more cooperative areas, such as home appliance, telecommunication, logistics, tourism, infrastructure, project contracting and joint research and development, he said.

Chinese President Hu Jintao (2nd R, front), accompanied by his Croatian counterpart Stjepan Mesic (1st R, front), reviews the honour guard during the welcome ceremony hosted by Stjepan Mesic in Zagreb, capital of Croatia, June 20, 2009.(Xinhua/Rao Aimin)

"Financial and insurance organs should provide support for enterprises of the two countries," Hu said.

China and Croatia have already set up a mixed committee on economy and trade. He said the committee should play its role as a guide and a coordinator.

Chambers of commerce and investment promotional departments between the two countries can also build a platform of mutual exchanges and communication for enterprises, particularly small-and medium-sized enterprises, and provide timely, comprehensive and accurate information for the corporations, Hu said.

Amidst the deepening of the global financial crisis, the Chinese government, along with the international community including the Croatian government, should enhance coordination on macro-economic policy, push forward reforms of the international financial system, and oppose trade and investment protectionism, thus making contributions to the recovery of the world economy, he said.

Mesic also delivered a speech at the seminar.

"Our economic and trade cooperation has constituted an important part of our bilateral ties," Mesic said.

Croatia was in trade deficit with China. "We cannot dramatically and thoroughly change the situation through expanding our export to China immediately," he said.

The Croatian president, however, called for "more confidence, persistence and insight" to gradually reduce the deficit.

"I know that China is interested in investing in Croatia. We must make every effort to promote it as the move is beneficial to both," he said.

Chinese President Hu Jintao (2nd L) and Croatian President Stjepan Mesic (2nd R) attend the opening ceremony of the China-Croatia Commerce Forum and the business fair of entrepreneurs held in Zagreb, capital of Croatia, June 20, 2009.(Xinhua/Lan Hongguang)

Mesic also listed other areas for possible cooperation, "from tourism to agriculture, to technical transfer, and to infrastructural construction."

He spoke highly of the economic stimulus plan adopted by the Chinese government after the outbreak of the financial crisis, saying Croatia "could learn from China's experience."

Croatia is the last leg of Hu's three-nation tour, during which he attended an annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the first summit of BRIC countries, namely Brazil, Russia, India and China, in Russia's Yekaterinburg, and paid state visits to Russia and Slovakia before the Croatia trip.

Source: Xinhua

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