China helps ease euro debt crisis

08:44, January 12, 2011      

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Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang wraps up his nine-day visit to Europe Wednesday - a trip that analysts say has not only assisted the troubled European economy but also helped balance the influence of world powers.

During the last leg of his three-nation European tour, which sees Li in Britain after stops in Spain and Germany, the vice premier said Monday that Britain and China should strive to boost bilateral trade and work together to improve balance in this field, the Xinhua News Agency reported Tuesday.

In his meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday, Li also asked the EU to remove trade restrictions and a weapons sales embargo on China.

Li encouraged Chinese companies to invest in infrastructure construction in Britain, and called for British companies to expand their investments in China, especially in its central and western regions.

China and Britain on Monday inked a $4 billion trade deal benefiting the auto, energy and other trade sectors, a deal that British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said would "safeguard 700 jobs in the United Kingdom."

The deal came on the heels of similar ones announced by China last week in Berlin and Madrid.

In Li's visit to Madrid, China and Spain inked $7.5 billion worth of government agreements and commercial contracts.

Li also said during his trip that China would likely buy more Spanish government bonds depending on market conditions.

While in Germany, the two countries signed 11 agreements and commercial contracts worth $8.7 billion and covering automobile purchases, financial cooperation, energy and machinery.

Liu Xiaoming, China's ambassador to Britain, wrote in The Telegraph last week that "cold Europe is feeling the warmth of the Chinese breeze. China is doing what a Chinese proverb says about 'sending charcoal in snowy weather.'"

In an e-mail to the Global Times, Dirk Moens, secretary general of the EU Chamber of Commerce in China, said there are win-win opportunities awaiting both sides.

"Countries and/or companies in need of capital are happy to see China investing. For China this represents an opportunity to diversify its foreign currency reserves, as well as its investment portfolio," he said, adding that Chinese procurements in Europe will be appreciated as an effort to start to address the huge trade imbalance between China and Europe.

China-EU trade reached $400 billion in 2009 and was expected to exceed $500 billion last year.

By Song Shengxia, Global Times
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