BELGRADE — Premier Li Keqiang said on Dec 16 that his country will create an investment fund of $3 billion to facilitate financing in the cash-strapped Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries.
Li made the announcement at the third leaders’ meeting between China and 16 CEE countries in Serbia.
The latest pledge came two years after the world’s second-largest economy set up a 10-billion-dollar special credit line to support cooperative projects with CEE countries.
“China will make the loan more preferential and reduce the cost of financing,” Li told the meeting.
He also announced that the second phase of the China-CEE Investment Cooperation Fund worth $1 billion will be launched.
The financing package is among the five-pronged proposals made by the Chinese premier to further enhance cooperation between China and CEE countries, which also include constructing a new corridor of inter-connectivity and expanding people-to-people exchanges.
“One year after the Bucharest action guideline was issued, China and CEE countries have witnessed closer exchanges and more active cooperation in various areas,” Li said.
At the second China-CEE leaders’ meeting in the Romanian capital of Bucharest last year, the two sides sketched out 38 cooperation projects, 80 percent of which have been put into practice.
Reiterating China’s unwavering pursuit of peaceful development, Li stressed that his country stands ready to promote sustainable development, prosperity and stability of the world along with all countries including CEE nations.
Li called on China and CEE countries to give full play to their complementarity and advance cooperation in infrastructure construction, transformation of production capacity and finance while taking into consideration concerns of all sides.
On connectivity construction, Li said the two sides should develop interconnected land and sea channels between China and Europe by taking advantage of the railway between Hungary and Serbia and the Greek sea port of Piraeus, among others.
China is also willing to join hands with CEE countries in facilitating customs clearance, he said.
The premier added that China’s high capacity in producing equipment of high-speed railways, nuclear power and telecommunication as well as raw materials including steel, cement and plate glass could satisfy the enormous demands of CEE countries’ large-scale projects.
“We will encourage Chinese enterprises to set up factories in CEE countries and actively participate in the construction of industrial parks there,” said Li.
“That will not only boost local employment, but also facilitate industry transformation and upgrading in China,” he added.
China and CEE countries, said Li, should also strengthen cooperation in such fields as tourism, science and technology, culture, education, healthcare, youth, women and media.
He called for well-designed activities for the China-CEE tourism year of 2015 and urged support for creating a scholar think tank center.
All sides should continue to simplify visa application procedures to facilitate their personnel exchanges, said Li, adding that his country will double the number of CEE students studying in China next year.
The premier stressed that the China-CEE cooperation will not only benefit the two sides, but also be conducive to the balanced development of Europe and its integration.
Echoing Li’s proposals, the CEE leaders attending the meeting said they are willing to deepen cooperation with China in such areas as trade, investment, infrastructure construction, energy, finance and people-to-people exchanges.