Premier Li Keqiang and Maris Kucinskis, the prime minister of Latvia, at the launch of Sino-CEEF Holding Co Ltd on Nov 5 in Riga, the Latvian capital. [Photo/China News Service]
China and 16 countries in Central and Eastern Europe have set up a financial holding company to fund projects that promote Chinese-made equipment and products.
Premier Li Keqiang and his Latvian counterpart, Maris Kucinskis, inaugurated Sino-CEEF Holding Co Ltd in Riga, the Latvian capital, on Nov 5.
“China has signed a memorandum with Poland and the Czech Republic to make contributions to the company, and other CEE countries are welcome to join us,” Premier Li said at the fifth Meeting of Heads of Government of China and CEE Countries.
The company’s focus will be projects on connectivity and production capacity cooperation that involve the purchase of Chinese equipment and products, the Premier said at a trade forum earlier on Nov 5.
Chief among the company’s goals is to provide financing to China-CEE cooperation projects.
In a joint news conference after the leaders’ meeting, Kucinskis said CEE countries look forward to furthering cooperation with China, including in transportation, finance, technology and culture, and to better dovetailing the Belt and Road Initiative with the European Union’s $350 million investment plan.
Su Xiaohui, a researcher at the China Institute of International Studies, said the establishment of the holding company shows China’s sincerity in cooperating with CEE nations.
She added that the company will provide important support for the implementation of strategies related to the Belt and Road Initiative.
Premier Li also proposed at the meeting that both sides deepen cooperation in infrastructure construction. He said China supports the construction of passages between Asia and Europe as well as more transportation hubs in the CEE region.
In addition, China encourages green economy cooperation and is willing to import quality agricultural produce from CEE countries that meet the needs of the Chinese market. He said he also wishes to see closer people-to-people exchanges.
First held in 2012 in Warsaw, Poland, the Meeting of Heads of Government of China and CEE Countries is an annual gathering aimed at enhancing cooperation across various fields.
Cui Hongjian, an expert in European studies at the China Institute of International Studies, said the meeting is a key reason behind the progress in bilateral cooperation over the past four years.
The gathering enables leaders from both sides to get together regularly and understand each other better, and is a platform where they can raise and decide on important issues such as major projects, he said.
The strengthening of China-CEE ties will serve as an example for China’s cooperation with other European countries, he added.