Wen says China committed to advancing ties with EU

12:14, October 04, 2010      

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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said here on Sunday that China is committed to advancing China-Eureopan Union (EU) relations which is not an expediency but a long-term strategic policy.

"China-EU relations are now at a new historical starting point with broad space for further growth. It should be our shared objective to push forward the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership and step up all-dimensional cooperation," Wen said in a speech at the Greek parliament.


Wen said that China supports a stable euro and is ready to strengthen cooperation with the EU.

"China will not reduce its euro-bond holdings and China supports a stable euro," Wen said.

After some European countries suffered sovereign debt crisis earlier this year, Wen said, the Chinese government announced many times that Beijing firmly supports the measures adopted by the EU and the International Monetary Fund.

Wen said, thanks to joint efforts China-EU trade has already exceeded the pre-crisis level.

Politically, Wen said, "China-EU relations have made three big leaps forward: from constructive partnership to comprehensive partnership and then to comprehensive strategic partnership."

Economically, he said, the EU has been China's largest trading partner for six consecutive years, while China has risen to be the EU's second largest trading partner.

Culturally, Wen said, China has signed numerous cultural exchange agreements with many EU countries and the impact of cultural exchanges, both bilateral and multilateral is far-reaching. "Nearly 200,000 Chinese students are now studying in Europe and each year over 1 million Chinese tourists come to visit Europe," he said.

"China-EU relations have reached unprecedented breadth and depth and the two sides have become indispensable partners in each other's development endeavor," the premier said.

The steady development of China-EU relations, Wen said, boosts friendliness between the Chinese and European peoples and also brings practical benefits to both sides.

Committed to a win-win strategy of opening-up, Wen said, China will further improve its investment environment, better protect intellectual property, expand trade and investment with Europe and raise the level of technological cooperation.

China hopes the EU recognizes "China's full market economy status as soon as possible, eases restrictions on high-tech exports to China and rejects trade protectionism so as to foster an environment conducive to the healthy growth of our trade," the premier said.


Premier Wen said that China remains a developing nation despite great changes over the past three decades.

"Although China's total GDP and external trade are among the largest in the world, the basic reality about China -- a populous country with a weak economic foundation and uneven development -- has not changed," Wen said.

China's per-capita GDP is only one eighth of Greece's, the number of poor people in China is more than three times that of Greece's entire population and the vast countryside and interior are still underdeveloped, he said.

China still has a long way to go to completely change its backwardness, he said, adding that China needs a peaceful and stable external environment and closer cooperation with other countries.

China will remain on the path of peaceful development, endeavor to foster a peaceful international environment for its own development and at the same time contribute to world peace through its own development, Wen said, adding that China's increasing prosperity will bring benefits to the whole world.


Wen said China is ready to intensify cooperation with Greece and help the European country tide over its current difficulties at an early date.

"We applaud the efforts taken by the Greek government to tackle the international financial crisis and the debt crisis. And we support the measures taken by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund in this regard," Wen said in the speech.

The premier said: "We hope that by intensifying cooperation with you, we can be of some help in your endeavor to tide over difficulties at an early date."

Since the beginning of this year, the two countries have signed 20 cooperation agreements and business contracts, he said, adding that the Greek exports to China in the first half of this year doubled year on year.

Wen suggested that the two countries expand cooperation in four fields.

China and Greece, he said, should broaden bilateral trade, actively explore new areas of trade, and strive to double their bilateral trade volume to 8 billion U.S. dollars in five years.

China would like to import more products that meet the demand of the Chinese market, such as olive oil and wines, so as to "make our bilateral trade not only bigger, but also more balanced," he said.

The two countries should deepen maritime cooperation as well, Wen said, adding that China will work with Greece to manage well the Piraeus Container Terminal and increase its capacity to 3.7 million TEUs by 2015. TEU stands for 20-foot equivalent unit.

China encourages its businesses to conduct logistic cooperation with Greece and its financial institutions to provide financing services for small- and medium-sized Greek shipowners for the building and repair of ships in China, he said.

China also supports the establishment of a research center on emission reduction and energy conservation of ships, the premier said, noting that these measures would give a boost to bilateral cooperation on navigation safety and exhaust emissions reduction of ships.

China and Greece should promote investment cooperation, Wen said, adding that the two nations should push forward trade and investment facilitation and create better conditions for cooperation between their enterprises.

China encourages its enterprises to set up businesses in Greece and would like to send a trade and investment promotion group to Greece as early as possible to seek cooperation projects in infrastructure and new energy sources, he said.

The premier also called on China and Greece to expand tourism cooperation. China welcomes greater tourism promotion efforts by Greece in China and hopes to jointly explore measures to facilitate tourism cooperation, he said.

At his meeting with Greek President Karolos Papoulias, Wen said he had witnessed the Greek government and people's unremitting efforts in coping with the challenges of the international financial crisis, expressing his belief that Greece could definitely overcome the temporary difficulties and make new development.

Papoulias, for his part, said Greece admires China's achievements in economic and social development, and its positive role in promoting world peace and development.

He voiced his belief that bilateral friendly cooperation would expand into deeper and wider fields and benefit the two peoples.

Also on Sunday, Wen met leader of Greece's New Democracy party Antonis Samaras.

Wen arrived in Athens Saturday on a three-day official visit to the European country, the first by a Chinese premier in 24 years.

Source: Xinhua


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