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Exports could help EU resolve debt issue

By Ding Qingfen and Fu Jing (China Daily)

08:21, May 04, 2012

The European Union should loosen its restrictions on high-tech exports to China as soon as possible, a move that could help the region resolve debt problems and create benefits for both sides, said Chinese Vice-Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday.

"Belgium is the first country in the EU to lift the ban on high-tech exports to China. China expects it could open up more in that respect, further stimulating the whole region to follow suit," said Li.

Li's remarks were made during his meeting with representatives of overseas Chinese in Brussels.

In an earlier meeting with Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo, the prime minister said he expects China "could provide its support to the EU, as the EU is experiencing a hard period at the moment and the region's economic recovery is important to both the region but also the whole world".

The EU remains the largest trade partner for China and China is the second-largest trade partner for the EU, but the region still sets curbs on technology exports to China. Experts suggested the EU ease the curbs to help stimulate the region's exports while the region struggles to address debt woes and seeks economic recovery.

Zhong Shan, vice-minister of commerce, said in an article published in People's Daily on Wednesday that China will actively expand its imports from the EU as part of its efforts to enlarge Chinese imports. But he also urged the EU to push forward the liberalization and convenience of trade and investment exchanges.

In late April, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao asked German Chancellor Angela Merkel to lobby fellow European Union leaders to ease the curbs.

"China is happy to import more from Germany and also hopes the German side will move the EU toward a loosening of export restrictions against China in the field of technology," Wen said at the time.

In 2011, China-EU trade volume reached a record $567.2 billion.

"China and the EU are highly complementary to each other in economies and advantages," Li said during the meeting with the representatives.

China is implementing its 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15), and the EU in 2010 launched the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

On Thursday, Li attended the China-EU Urbanization High-level Conference, discussing cooperation on the issue with his counterparts.

Li wrote in an article on Wednesday in the Financial Times that if EU high-tech exports to China gained 1 percentage point, there would be extra exports worth 2.2 billion euro ($2.9 billion) for the region. "Relaxing control over high-tech exports to China is conducive to growing China-EU economic ties and so is beneficial for both sides," Li said.

China has repeatedly said the Chinese government is confident that the EU could solve its debt problems through joint efforts, and the nation has also lent a hand to the region.

Last year, China's direct investment in the region doubled, and the nation bought government bonds on many occasions.

"China and Europe are strategic partners. We are ready to work with Europe to ensure our mutual hopes will enhance trust, support and cooperation," Li wrote.

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