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Premier Li puts focus on economy, trade in trip

Updated: Jun 5,2017 7:13 AM     China Daily

Premier Li Keqiang wrapped up his three-day trip to Europe on June 3, reaffirming Beijing’s commitment to developing stable China-EU ties amid the growing global uncertainties.

The trip, which focused on the economic and trade ties, brought Premier Li to Belgium and Germany, where he attended the annual meeting of the Chinese premier and German chancellor.

While in Brussels, the Premier attended the 12th EU-China Business Summit and co-chaired the 19th China-EU leaders’ meeting with European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

At both events, Premier Li highlighted the importance of a stable and increasingly strong China-EU relationship in the face of rising global uncertainties.

The Premier said he hoped the meeting will send a positive signal that the China-EU relationship remained stable and steadily improving, and that they can respond to the global uncertainties with stability of their cooperation.

Noting that China and the EU have made steady progress in their cooperation in recent years, Premier Li urged the two sides to better align their development strategies, expand two-way opening-up and press on with their negotiation on an investment agreement.

In the keynote speech at the Business Summit, Premier Li said both sides believe they should go with the tide of globalization and work to make globalization fairer and more inclusive.

Globalization has brought tremendous benefits to China, the EU and the world, Premier Li said, and it should not be blamed for the negative influence emerging along with it. But he cautioned that China and the EU should take action to tackle the problems brought by economic globalization.

The current pressing task is to uphold the principles of fairness and free trade and revive the two engines of trade and investment, he added.

China always attaches great importance to fairness and sustainability while promoting free trade with the EU, Premier Li said.

Premier Li also made an official visit to Belgium, meeting with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel. The two leaders witnessed the signing of a series of agreements on infrastructure, manufacturing, quality testing, telecommunications and logistics.

Zhou Hong, a professor of international relations at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said “candidness and openness” was the highlight of Premier Li’s visit to Europe.

“While reaching consensus, disagreement on certain issues was candidly discussed in Premier Li’s meetings with the German and EU leaders. This will help build China-EU relations more effectively, as such open discussion of disagreements lead to solutions,” Zhou said.