Chinese premier proposes to advance economic, trade links with France

08:14, December 22, 2009      

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China proposed on Monday to advance its economic and trade relations with France to a new level by taking the opportunities that may emerge when tackling global challenges including the financial crisis and climate change.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (L) holds a welcoming ceremony for French Prime Minister Francois Fillon (R) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Dec. 21, 2009. (Xinhua/Liu Weibing)

Premier Wen Jiabao made the remarks when meeting with visiting French Prime Minister Francois Fillon, who witnessed an unveiling ceremony of the biggest new energy joint venture between the two countries Monday morning.

"We should take the opportunities of tackling the international financial crisis, climate change, energy security and other global challenges, and change our ways of thinking and deepen cooperation to advance bilateral economic and trade relations to a new level," Wen told Fillon

"We should follow the opening and win-win principles, oppose trade protectionism, and take effective measures to help bilateral trade resume growth at an early date," Wen proposed.

Statistics showed that the China-France trade volume has been falling since the third quarter of 2008, with China's exports to France declining significantly.

According to China's customs data for the first three quarters of this year, the two countries' trade volume was about 24.6 billion U.S. dollars, down 15.6 percent from the same period last year. It was the first year-on-year decline since 1996.

Wen proposed the two nations increase cooperation in major projects concerning such sectors as nuclear energy, aviation and transport, while environmental protection, new energy and green economy be fostered into new growth momentum in bilateral cooperation.

He also urged expansion of mutual investment and support to exchanges and cooperation between small and medium sized enterprises.

"China is also ready to strengthen cultural and people-to-people exchanges with France to expand the foundation of public support for bilateral friendship," Wen said.

Hailing the relations between China and France, both as influential nations, Wen said it had exerted important influence on international political situation and brought great benefits for the two nations and the two peoples.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (R) shakes hands with French Prime Minister Francois Fillon during a welcoming ceremony Wen holds for Fillon at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Dec. 21, 2009. (Xinhua/Liu Weibing)

As currently the world situation was witnessing great development, profound changes and broad adjustment, China-France ties should cement its stability, maintain its comprehensiveness and strengthen its strategic nature, Wen noted.

He said the two sides should take care of each other's core interests and major concerns in an earnest manner, increase mutual political trust, and push forward the bilateral ties to move in the right direction for healthy and stable development.

"We will expand exchanges with France in various levels and increase strategic dialogue and coordination to make unswerving efforts to build a just and reasonable international political and economic order," Wen said.

Fillon said he agreed with Wen's proposals on the development of bilateral ties, which was a unique strategic partnership.

He said the France-China ties had achieved remarkable growth since the two countries forged diplomatic relations in 1964, with increasing all-dimensional cooperation and growing friendship between the two peoples.

Fillon hoped the two nations should continue their efforts, based on mutual respect and equality, to promote cooperation in nuclear energy, aviation, transport and culture.

France and China should work together to promote dialogue between countries which were different in culture and system, in a bid to achieve a multi-polar world, Fillon said.

Wen and Fillon also exchanged views on China-EU relations.

Wen said China attached great importance to the European Union and always regarded China-EU ties as one of its most important foreign relations.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (5th L) holds talks with visiting French Prime Minister Francois Fillon (4th R) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Dec. 21, 2009. (Xinhua/Liu Weibing)

Wen hoped France would continue playing a positive role in persuading all EU member states into agreements on lifting arms embargo against China and recognizing China's status of full market economy.

"This is conducive to China-France and China-EU ties," Wen noted.

Fillon spoke highly of the successful 12th China-European Union summit, which took place in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province, at the end of last month.

With the establishment of new EU institutions, the EU-China relations would achieve more stable growth, Fillon said.

Fillon also briefed Wen on his views on the two week-long Copenhagen conference, which concluded Saturday in the Danish capital after producing a non-legally binding document on climate change.

All parties should be forward-looking and respect and fulfill the Copenhagen Accord to jointly cope with climate change, and also promote economic growth and human progress, he noted.

Fillon was on his first official visit to China since taking office.

Source: Xinhua
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