China is set to further strengthen cooperation with Central and Eastern European countries at this year’s China-CEE Summit. The CEE countries see investment cooperation as the top priority of their ties with China, and a necessity in a time of economic difficulty.
The summit of China and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe is a major platform to promote ties between China and 16 CEE countries, including Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary.
The first China-CEE summit took place in Warsaw in April 2012. Former Premier Wen Jiabao declared 12 measures to promote cooperation between China and CEE countries. A highlight of the measures included a credit line worth $10 billion from China for funding projects in CEE countries, with a focus on cooperation projects in infrastructure, high tech industries, and the green economy.
The second summit was held in Bucharest, Romania in 2013. The meeting produced the Bucharest Guidelines for Cooperation between China and CEE countries. The guidelines stressed that leaders of China and CEE countries would hold annual meetings to review cooperation achievements, and set the direction for future cooperation. Also, China agreed with Hungary and Serbia to jointly build a railway between the latter two countries.
Since the Bucharest summit, two-way trade between China and the 16 CEE countries has seen significant growth. In the first 10 months of this year, the two way trade reached $50 billion, with a 10.1% year-on-year increase. So far more than $5 billion in investments from Chinese enterprises have gone to projects in CEE countries in telecom, machinery, and the chemical industry. Progress has also been made in joint infrastructure development, including a series of projects on bridges, power plants, and highway construction.