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China vows to double trade in Europe

By Hu Yinan, Fu Jing, Zhou Wa (China Daily)

13:48, April 27, 2012

China vowed on Thursday to double its trade with Central and Eastern European countries to $100 billion by 2015, as Premier Wen Jiabao reassured leaders in the region that Beijing would deepen relations with these countries "with the greatest sincerity".

Polish officials, experts and investors welcomed Beijing's commitments, saying Poland will serve as an ideal gateway between China and the rest of Europe to boost trade and investment and help stabilize the European and global economy.

Beijing will offer $10 billion in loans to support partner projects in infrastructure, high-tech and the green economy for countries in the region, Wen said at the second annual China-Central and Eastern European Countries Economic Forum.

Last year's forum in Budapest, which Wen also attended and addressed, was a meeting of economic ministers. The summit this year, meanwhile, has drawn heads of government from 14 of the 16 nations in the region — including Croatia, Lithuania, Macedonia and Estonia — at the invitation of Poland.

In a time of considerable uncertainty in the global economy, cooperation suits the fundamental interests of both China and countries in the region, Wen said.

Beijing is willing to import more from the area and offer assistance to its companies coming to China for exhibitions and trade fairs, he said.

In terms of infrastructure development, Wen proposed to set up an expert committee on the construction of traffic networks to discuss joint venture possibilities in the region's highway and railway projects.

Marek Szostak, an official with the Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency, said China has shown interest in infrastructure and renewable projects in Poland, but there is also huge potential in other sectors.

"I think China can also invest in our strategic sectors such as automobiles, electronics, aviation, modern services ... We have open-door policies to attract capital, whether it's from the West or East,"Szostak told China Daily.

He also said the two countries should accelerate the exchange of students and attract tourists from each other. "This will deepen mutual understanding and in turn boost economic and trade cooperation,"said Szostak.

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