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Three key points expected from Premier Li’s European trip

Updated: May 31,2017 7:17 AM Beijing News

Three key points are expected to be highlighted during Premier Li Keqiang’s upcoming visit to Europe from May 31 to June 2.

During the three-day visit, Premier Li will pay official visits to Germany and Belgium, and attend the annual meeting between the Chinese premier and German chancellor in Germany, and the 19th China-European Union (EU) leaders’ meeting in Belgium.

This will be Premier Li’s ninth meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, fifth with EU leaders and fourth with Belgium leaders since he took office as premier in 2013.

Sending strong signals on free trade and multilateralism

Against the backdrop of rising anti-globalization, Premier Li’s visit at this time is a smart move to secure global free trade and multilateralism.

During the meeting with German Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel on May 24 in Beijing, Premier Li said he hoped both sides would send strong signals on supporting economic globalization and free trade, maintaining regional peace and stability, and promoting prosperous development.

Merkel recently said in public that protectionism and isolationism will weaken a country’s ability to innovate and its development potential in the long term. A white paper released by the EU also stressed the positive significance of globalization and voiced opposition against protectionism.

A Belgian foreign trade and investment official also said that more and more regions in the world have lost faith in free trade and international cooperation. He expressed the hope that such a trend will not last long and that the EU and China will not be affected.

Win-win cooperation between China and Germany, EU and Belgium

The EU is China’s largest trading partner and China is the EU’s second largest. In 2016, China overtook the United States and became Germany’s largest trading partner, according to Germany’s Federal Statistics Office.

During previous meetings, Premier Li once accompanied German Chancellor Angela Merkel to his hometown, and held a banquet for EU leaders in Europe. During this visit, leaders from Germany, Belgium and the EU will arrange private banquets for Premier Li, which shows not only their personal friendship, but also the greatest importance they attach to bilateral relations.

Amid high-speed growth, there are inevitable divergences in China-Germany, China-Europe and China-Belgium cooperation. But undoubtedly, mutually beneficial cooperation is the top choice to maximize each other’s interests and to bring the greatest benefits to their people.

More important, at the crossroads of the global economic recovery, stances to be jointly made by China and Germany, and the EU, as well as Belgium, will play a significant role in serving as a global barometer and stabilizer.

Just as Premier Li said previously, the global political situation is still full of uncertainties and global economic recovery is still facing difficulties. Strengthened China-Germany, China-EU and China-Belgium cooperation will not only bring mutual benefits to each other but also play a positive role in the world.

Win benefits for the country and the people

Like previous visits, Premier Li’s visit to Europe this time is one with a crammed schedule. He will attend events after a 10-hour flight on May 31 and his schedule will last until 3 am Beijing time the next day.

On June 2, he will attend about 10 China-EU and China-Belgium events until very late at night and then directly leave for home.

With such a tight schedule, what will Premier Li be busy doing during the visit? Released information showed that during the visit, he will attend several innovation events and sign a series of cooperation agreements in fields such as innovation, economy, trade, new energy, interconnectivity, cooperation between small and medium-sized enterprises, finance, tourism and education.

Regional and global issues, integration of Made-in-China 2025 with Germany’s Industry 4.0, jointly attending the Geely-Volvo auto show with the Belgium prime minister and recognition of driving licenses are all important agenda of his visit.

Winning benefits for the country and the people is a common theme of every one of his visits and also a highlight of his visit this time.