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Premier Li Keqiang will head to Europe for summit

Zhao Yinan
Updated: Jun 27,2015 10:33 AM     China Daily

China will look for ways to partner its Belt and Road Initiative with Europe’s multibillion-euro investment plan during Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Europe next week, a senior official said on June 26.

The Beijing-led Belt and Road Initiative fits well with Europe’s needs, especially the 315 billion euro ($351 billion) investment plan proposed by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Wang Shouwen, vice-minister of commerce, said at a news conference in Beijing.

The two proposals share a number of interests and the two sides will look for ways to cooperate in these sectors, Wang said.

Although Wang did not disclose more details, an official from the European Commission told China Daily that parties can contribute in three ways to the European Union investment plan: through the European Fund for Strategic Investment, an investment platform or an individual project.

Li, who will leave for Europe on June 28, plans a weeklong trip that will include a China-EU summit in Brussels on June 29 and a visit to France.

The summit will include meetings with EU leaders and discussion of innovation and development. Li is expected to witness the signing of economic documents that will “envision a new path of China-EU cooperation”, Wang said.

China is the EU’s second-largest trading partner, and the EU has been China’s largest trade partner for 11 years. Bilateral trade last year surpassed $600 billion.

Li’s visit to France, the first by a Chinese premier in a decade, will include talks on agriculture, civil nuclear power, finance, tourism, and other areas of collaboration.

Vice-Foreign Minister Wang Chao said China and France are likely to sign intergovernmental deals to promote e-commerce, which will facilitate exports of French products to China and fuel domestic demand.

The two countries will also discuss ways to combine China’s advantages in industrial capacity and competitiveness in equipment manufacturing with advanced French technologies, Wang Chao said.

China is the eighth-largest export market for France and the seventh-biggest source of imports. Bilateral trade volume hit 49.1 billion euros ($54 billion) last year, an increase of 5.3 percent from 2013.

Wang Chao, of the Foreign Ministry, also expressed confidence regarding Greece’s talks with creditors to avoid a default. He said China would like to see Greece remain in the eurozone. “We believe that the eurozone can, via the efforts of all parties, appropriately deal with the situation.”