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Li makes pitch for business investment

Qin Jize in Belgrade, Serbia and Zhang Yunbi
Updated: Dec 18,2014 9:17 AM     China Daily

In front of key government officials and more than 1,500 businessmen from Central and Eastern Europe, Premier Li Keqiang laid out Beijing’s latest vision for introducing Chinese equipment manufacturers to address mounting demand for infrastructure construction in the region.

Infrastructure, trade and financing dominated the topic of the premier’s busy day as he attended the third leaders’ meeting and the Fourth Economic and Trade Forum between China and 16 Central and Eastern European countries.

The premier made sales pitches on behalf of Chinese equipment manufacturing businesses who seek more deals in the region.

Li spoke of China’s rich experience and technology in equipment manufacturing as well as the attractive quality and cost-effective products in railways, electricity, ports, and the chemical and mechanical sectors.

“A win-win situation will be seen” after the countries combine the made-in-China elements with the infrastructure construction in the region, he said.

China encourages its enterprises to establish factories in Central and Eastern Europe, actively participate in industrial parks and boost local employment, Li said.

China’s businesses are also expected to act as a driving force for “the upgrading and transformation of Chinese industries”, he said.

China’s strength in infrastructure construction, especially in high-speed railway, sees an expanding market in the region, and the projects themselves will provide a robust boost to trade, said Wang Wei, a researcher at the China Institute of International Studies.

Promoting new energy programs in the region will in return prompt the development and transformation of energy-saving industries back in China, Wang said.

On the financing front, the premier proposed setting up a new framework for joint investment and financing between China and the 16 countries.

China encourages the countries to continue using the $10-billion special credit line, and another $3-billion investment fund will be established to encourage Chinese companies and financial institutions to participate in public-private cooperation and the privatization process in those countries.

China will also launch the second phase of the $1-billion Investment Cooperation Fund for China and Eastern Europe to support its investment projects in these countries, Li said.

The cooperation is adding diversity and variety to the relationship, which will result in great benefits for the evolving partnership, said Kong Tianping, a researcher on European studies at Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Kong said Beijing’s expectations that the trip will “forge a new engine” for the relationship will make ties develop in a balanced way.

To boost trade, Li said, the Chinese government will work with the governments of Central and Eastern European nations to facilitate personnel exchanges, create favorable conditions for expanding trade and improve trade structures.

A guideline unveiled on Dec 16 voiced support for establishing the executive body of the Cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European Countries in Warsaw, Poland.

The Belgrade Guidelines for Cooperation said the countries also welcomed the establishment of a secretariat in Beijing and Warsaw for the promotion of investment between China and Central and Eastern European countries.

They announced a decision to hold a biennial ministerial meeting to promote trade and economic cooperation.

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