Premier Li Keqiang arrived in Bulgaria on July 5 for an official visit to the country and the seventh meeting of heads of government of China and 16 Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC) in Sofia.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov held a welcome ceremony for Premier Li Keqiang in Sofia, capital of Bulgaria, on July 6.
Premier Li Keqiang and his Bulgarian counterpart Boyko Borissov agreed on July 6 to consolidate political mutual trust and deepen pragmatic cooperation in order to raise bilateral relations to a new level.
During their meeting, Premier Li expressed the hope that the two countries would increase exchanges at various levels, support each other on issues concerning the other’s core interests and major concerns, accelerate synergizing their development strategies, expand trade and investment, develop cooperation in agriculture and strengthen people-to-people exchanges.
At a joint news conference on July 6 in Sofia, Premier Li Keqiang and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov both declared that the 16+1 cooperation mechanism is not a geopolitical platform, but one for economic and cultural cooperation.
Premier Li said China always supports European integration and a united EU. The 16+1 cooperation does not only benefit China and CEE countries, but also benefits Europe, world multipolarization and free trade, he added.
During a meeting with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama in Sofia on July 6, Premier Li Keqiang said that China stands ready to work with Albania to accelerate the alignment of their development strategies and lift bilateral ties to a new level.
He added that China will work with Albania to build an agricultural mechanization cooperation demonstration center in the European country, and enhance cooperation in water resources utilization and disaster prevention.
Premier Li Keqiang met with his Estonian counterpart Juri Ratas on July 6 and the two sides pledged to enhance cooperation within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.
Premier Li said China supports its e-commerce companies in strengthening cooperation with their partners in Estonia, welcomes Estonia to play an active role in expanding China-Europe freight train services, and stands ready to strengthen cooperation in such areas as agriculture, transportation and logistics.
Premier Li Keqiang met with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on July 6, and the two leaders pledged to further strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation.
China will work with the Hungarian side to continue their cooperation on major projects, including a new railway line between Hungary and Serbia, said the Premier.
During a meeting with Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, Premier Li Keqiang said that China is ready to strengthen cooperation with Croatia in infrastructure construction.
He said China will continue to support Chinese companies participating in the construction of ports, railways and other infrastructure in Croatia, in line with Croatia’s needs and in accordance with EU regulations and market principles.
Premier Li also hoped for the two sides to continue allowing small and midsize enterprises (SMEs) to play their role, so as to blaze new trails and build new pillars for bilateral and even China-CEE cooperation.
Premier Li Keqiang met with his Slovak counterpart, Peter Pellegrini, on July 6 and the two sides pledged to boost cooperation on regional interconnectivity projects.
Premier Li said China welcomes Slovakia to participate in the first China International Import Expo, which is due to take place later this year in Shanghai, and promote competitive Slovak products to Chinese consumers.
Slovakia enjoys a unique geographical advantage, and China is glad to see countries in the region improving interconnectivity, said the Premier, adding that China is ready to discuss possible cooperation with Slovakia on railway and automobiles.
The two countries, he suggested, should also step up financial cooperation and further facilitate bilateral trade and investment.
Premier Li Keqiang met with Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, and the two sides agreed to further step up bilateral practical cooperation on July 6.
Noting that bilateral practical cooperation enjoys a solid foundation, he said the reconstruction of the Belgrade-Stara Pazova segment of the Belgrade-Budapest Railway, a flagship project within the framework of 16+1 cooperation, is progressing smoothly and the two sides need to make concerted efforts to push it forward.
Visiting Premier Li Keqiang met with Bulgarian President Rumen Radev on July 6, and the two sides pledged to promote bilateral ties.
China welcomes Bulgaria to export high-quality agricultural products to China, and encourages competitive Chinese companies to invest in Bulgaria, Premier Li said.
The Chinese government will deepen reform comprehensively with stronger determination, greater efforts as well as more concrete actions, Premier Li said at the eighth trade and economic forum between China and Central and Eastern European countries in Sofia on July 7, promising profound transformation of government functions, strengthened intellectual property rights protection and market order overhaul, and a business environment with international competitiveness.
Premier Li Keqiang and leaders from 16 Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC) visited an exhibition highlighting achievements made by China and CEEC, in Sofia, Bulgaria, on July 7.
Premier Li praised the cooperation between China and CEE countries, adding that openness will boost trade and investment for both sides.
China has a lot of quality products with lower prices to meet the consumption needs of CEE countries. China also encourages Chinese enterprises to set up branches in CEE countries if the local market requires, and to increase localization of products, Premier Li said.
At the seventh China-CEEC leaders’ meeting in Sofia on July 7, Premier Li Keqiang called for deepening open and pragmatic cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC) to promote common prosperity and development.
For the future development of the 16+1 mechanism, Premier Li proposed both sides jointly safeguard economic globalization and free trade, maintain a rules-based multilateral trading system, oppose unilateralism and protectionism, and vigorously promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation.
He suggested more CEE countries participate in the construction of various forms of industrial parks according to their own advantages, and foster a fresh force for innovation cooperation.
Financial cooperation should be enhanced to open up more investment and financing channels for the 16+1 cooperation to solve financing difficulties, according to Premier Li. He invited CEEC financial institutions to launch branch offices in China for business.
China is glad to see Latvia to play as an important logistic hub in the Baltic region and is ready to work with it to develop economic and trade ties as well as interconnectivity, and achieve mutual benefit and win-win outcomes, said Premier Li when meeting with his Latvian counterpart Maris Kucinskis in Sofia on July 7.
China welcomes Slovenia to participate in the first China International Import Expo, which is due to take place later this year in Shanghai, and hopes to strengthen cooperation with the Slovenian side in the field of medicine, Premier Li said when meeting with Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar in Sofia on July 7.
The Chinese side supports its competitive household electrical appliances enterprises to invest and build factories in Slovenia, encourages Chinese citizens to travel there and hopes to expand aviation cooperation with the European country, said the Premier.
Premier Li Keqiang met with Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila on July 7. The two sides agreed to deepen cooperation in such areas as infrastructure and finance.
China supports its enterprises to participate in the construction of Romania’s infrastructure and nuclear power projects in a fair and transparent manner and according to the needs of both sides, said Premier Li.
He said China hopes to discuss with the Romanian side over third-party cooperation and financial cooperation, so to create more convenient conditions for bilateral trade and investment.
China is willing to actively support the construction of transportation arteries in Macedonia and surrounding areas so as to promote the development of regional interconnectivity and trade, Premier Li Keqiang said during a meeting with his Macedonian counterpart, Zoran Zaev, in Sofia on July 7.
China and Macedonia are both developing countries, Premier Li said, adding that China is willing to provide assistance to its best capabilities and support more Chinese companies to join the construction of Macedonia’s projects.
The Premier added that China welcomes more high quality agricultural products from Macedonia to enter the Chinese market.
Premier Li said China is willing to steadily advance the thermal power project with Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), and supports Chinese companies to participate in BiH’s infrastructure construction including upgrading highways and railways.
He made the remarks while meeting with BiH Chairman of the Council of Ministers Denis Zvizdic in Sofia on July 7.
China attaches importance to BiH’s desire to export agricultural products to China, and is willing to expand imports of such goods, Premier Li said, adding that he hopes that both sides can give play to their respective advantages to strengthen cooperation in forestry resources development and deep processing.
Premier Li Keqiang met with his counterpart from Montenegro, Dusko Markovic on July 7. The two sides pledged to strengthen bilateral cooperation.
The Premier pointed out that Montenegro’s north-south highway is a flagship project of pragmatic cooperation between the two countries, adding that he hopes the two sides can meet each other halfway and speed up its construction so as to set an example for the two country’s major cooperation projects.
China is willing to discuss with Montenegro on third-party cooperation and foster new highlights in bilateral cooperation, Premier Li said.
China supports competitive Chinese companies to invest in Montenegro, and encourages Chinese tourists to visit Montenegro, the Premier added.
Premier Li Keqiang met with his Czech counterpart, Andrej Babis, in Sofia on July 7, vowing to consolidate the political foundation for a smooth development of bilateral relations and the basic conditions for pragmatic cooperation.
Premier Li said China is willing to expand two-way opening-up as well as two-way trade and investment with the Czech side, so as to increase the trade of goods and deepen service trade cooperation.
He also said that both sides could strengthen cooperation in areas like finance, aviation, automobiles and agriculture.
Premier Li Keqiang arrived in Berlin, capital of Germany, on July 8 for the fifth round of China-Germany intergovernmental consultations and an official visit to the European country.
Upon arrival, Premier Li noted that he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who visited China in May, had realized an exchange of visits less than half a year after the two countries’ new cabinets took office in March.
Premier Li Keqiang attended a welcoming ceremony held by German Chancellor Angela Merkel on July 9 in Berlin. This is their ninth meeting since Premier Li took office as Chinese premier.
During a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on July 9, Premier Li urged the two countries to jointly promote free and fair trade so as to boost global trade growth and continued recovery of the world economy.
He said the two sides should grasp the opportunities of cooperation in intelligent manufacturing, autopilot and new energy-driven vehicles.
China would continue to step up its efforts to protect intellectual property rights and encourage voluntary technological exchanges among enterprises, and would not allow forced technology transfers, Premier Li said.
The Premier added that he hopes the German side will treat Chinese investments in a fair and just manner, increase high-tech exports to China and expand market access for Chinese enterprises, he said.
China and Germany agreed to unequivocally oppose protectionism and safeguard a free trade system based on multilateral rules to promote strong, sustainable and balanced global economic growth.
Premier Li Keqiang and German Chancellor Angela Merkel co-chaired the fifth round of intergovernmental consultations on July 9 and made the announcement in Berlin.
Both sides agreed to deepen cooperation in finance and economy, make full use of high-level financial dialogue and other mechanisms, strengthen communication in macroeconomic policy and build financing platforms concerning bilateral and third-party markets.
While Germany appreciates China’s further measures to open its financial market, China supports the construction of a Frankfurt financial center and the offshore market of renminbi.
The two governments agreed that they should build a cooperation platform for companies of both countries and create a more favorable business environment.
China invites Germany to attend the first China International Import Expo and welcomes Germany to expand its investment in China. Beijing also encourages German companies to invest and set up factories in China’s central and western regions.
They agreed to strengthen cooperation on scientific and technological innovation as well as cooperation on agriculture by fully taping the potential of digitization.
Premier Li and Merkel met the press and introduced the achievements of their intergovernmental consultations on July 9.
This round of intergovernmental consultations has fruitful cooperation in various fields and opens up new cooperation for the future, Premier Li said.
In the process of its new round of opening-up, China will continue to optimize the market environment and strengthen the protection of intellectual property rights, Premier Li said.
Premier Li said both sides should have a more open and confident attitude to deal with technical cooperation.
He also called on China and Germany use their substantial cooperation to show that they are committed to safeguarding multilateralism and free trade so as to promote their own development, as well as the recovery of the world economy.
Premier Li Keqiang met with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on July 9 in Berlin, calling on the two countries to seek common ground while reserving differences to maximize their common interests.
Premier Li Keqiang addressed the closing ceremony of a bilateral forum on economic and technological cooperation in Berlin on July 9. German Chancellor Angela Merkel also attended the event.
He called on the two countries to increase two-way investment and offer a fair, transparent and predictable investment environment for each other’s enterprises.
Noting that China-Germany cooperation has seen comprehensive, stable and healthy development, Premier Li said the two countries need to actively promote innovation cooperation and further synergize their development strategies in innovation.
Premier Li also said industries like electric vehicles and intelligent manufacturing should be taken as a cooperation platform, calling on the two countries to step up cooperation in emerging industries including artificial intelligence, new-energy driven cars and autopilot.
Premier Li Keqiang and German Chancellor Angela Merkel attended an autopilot cooperation exhibition between the two countries in Berlin on July 10
China is pursuing a new round of opening-up and will further relax market access to the automobile sector, Premier Li said. He welcomes German companies to continue to expand investment in China, cooperate more in high-tech fields and jointly seize the opportunities in market competition in the future.
Premier Li expressed his hope that the autopilot cooperation will become a new engine for pragmatic cooperation between China and Germany, and inject new impetus to the relationship between the two countries.
Premier Li Keqiang and his wife Cheng Hong attended a private dinner hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her husband Professor Joachim Sauer in Berlin on July 10.