BRUSSELS -- Premier Li Keqiang said here on June 29 that China is considering to kick start a China-EU investment platform to support Europe’s economic revival.
Addressing the opening ceremony of an European Union (EU)-China business summit, visiting Premier Li Keqiang said his country is willing to interface with the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI), a 315 billion-euro investment plan initiated by President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker for resuscitating Europe’s economy and in particular building large infrastructure.
Seeing the China-EU relationship as one of the most important, stable and constructive relationships in the world, Li proposed to combine China’s comparative advantages in production capacity and equipment manufacturing with the advanced technology of European economies.
He called on the two sides to join hands in exploring third-party markets with cooperation in priority areas such as equipment manufacturing.
China and the EU should carry out more advanced financial cooperation in a bid to meet the demand of industrial investments, said Li.
China, he added, will expand its purchase of bonds issued by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and improve the Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (RQFII) system.
In addition, Li encouraged bigger roles of other investment and financing arrangements in the revitalization of the European economy, including the China-initiated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Representatives of the 57 prospective founding countries of the AIIB signed on June 29 in Beijing an agreement that outlines the framework and management structure for the multilateral financial institution.
Under the initiatives of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, a Silk Road Fund has been set up by China for improving infrastructure connectivity between Asia and Europe.
The fund, said Li, would be used for cooperating with Europe in high-tech development, infrastructure construction and financial services.
The latest European investment plan in the coming three years aims to, as explained by the EIB, revive investment in strategic projects around Europe to ensure that money reaches the real economy.
The Premier also urged the two sides to further liberalize trade and investment and properly handle trade frictions, voicing his confidence of the bilateral trade exceeding one trillion U.S. dollars by 2020.
In response to the Greek debt issue, Li said in a meeting with European Parliament President Martin Schulz that China, as a firm supporter of the European integration process, is always a responsible long-term holder of European bonds and expects an adequate solution to the Greek debt issue.
Expansive monetary policies are not quite enough for stimulating the sluggish economy, the Premier said, encouraging both China and the EU to adopt structural reforms and enhance international production capacity cooperation so as to revitalize the real economy.
Noting that people-to-people exchanges have become an important pillar of the China-EU cooperation, Li urged the two sides to give full play to the high-level dialogue mechanism and make the China-EU year of intercultural dialogue a success.
Describing China as a strong and reliable partner of the EU, Juncker said the two sides should build up a stronger partnership of mutual benefit in face of the current international financial crises and other global challenges.
The EU is willing to strengthen cooperation with China in infrastructure building and inter-connectivity, he said, adding that it welcomes more Chinese companies to invest in Europe.
Li arrived in Brussels on June 28 for the 17th China-EU leaders’ meeting. During his visit, China and the EU issued a document to outline their future cooperation priorities and a statement on climate change, and signed several cooperation deals on regional policies, intellectual property rights protection, customs and technological innovation.
The EU has been China’s largest trading partner for 11 years while China has been the EU’s second largest trading partner for 12 years. Two-way trade exceeded $600 billion in 2014.
After the Brussels trip, Li traveled to Paris later on June 29 for an official visit to France.