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Highlights from Premier Li’s Eurasian trip

Updated: Oct 20,2018 2:48 PM

Premier Li Keqiang arrived in Dushanbe on Oct 11 for the 17th meeting of the Council of Heads of Government (Prime Ministers) of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and an official visit to Tajikistan.

Tajik Prime Minister Kokhir Rasulzoda held a grand welcome ceremony for Premier Li at the airport on Oct 11. Local youth, dressed in national costume, presented flowers to the Premier and his wife. Premier Li then inspected the guards of honor with Rasulzoda.

Premier Li Keqiang called on China and Kazakhstan to further dovetail development strategies, give full play to industry capacity cooperation advantages, thereby steadily promoting existing cooperation projects and continuously exploring new areas of cooperation.

He made the remarks during a meeting with Kazakh Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev in Dushanbe on Oct 11.

He said China stands ready to keep the momentum of high-level exchanges with Kazakhstan and expressed the hope that the two countries will enhance links of each other’s ports, expand trade, jointly safeguard multilateral trade system and open world economy, so as to benefit peoples of the two countries and the region.

Premier Li Keqiang urged Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member countries to further promote win-win cooperation in various fields and achieve common development on Oct 12.

Addressing the 17th meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of Government in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe, he highlighted, among others, the areas of multilateral economic cooperation and trade, production capacity cooperation, and connectivity.

In order to build on the sound momentum, Premier Li proposed advancing SCO cooperation in six areas: security, multilateral economic cooperation and trade, production capacity cooperation, connectivity, innovation, and people-to-people ties.

The SCO serves as an important platform for Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) cooperation, he said, adding that China is ready to further synergize the BRI with development strategies of fellow SCO members to make the SCO an example of openness, cooperation and common development.

He called on the SCO member countries to firmly support free trade and the rules-based multilateral trading regime and further advance trade and investment liberalization and facilitation.

SCO members, the Premier added, also need to take solid steps to promote multilateral trade and economic cooperation, launch feasibility studies on establishing an SCO free trade area, and develop institutional arrangements for closer regional economic cooperation.

The Premier said that China will continue to encourage competent Chinese enterprises to invest in other SCO member countries and expand cooperation in infrastructure, processing, manufacturing, energy exploitation and agriculture.

SCO members also need to make the best use of financing platforms such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Silk Road Fund, the SCO Interbank Consortium and the China-Eurasia Economic Cooperation Fund, Premier Li said, while calling for continued discussions at the expert level to explore a feasible plan for setting up an SCO development bank.

Premier Li called for more efforts to enhance cooperation among railway administrations in SCO countries, improve the harmonization of policies, technologies and standards, and expand the cross-border railway networks in the region.

“Efforts should also be made to set up multimodal logistics centers and equip them with up-to-date technologies to automate and simplify border, customs and sanitary procedures for goods clearance in order to create an enabling soft environment,” he said.

Premier Li Keqiang lauded the China-Russia bilateral relationship, which has kept high-level development momentum and made remarkable achievements in economic cooperation.

He made the remarks on Oct 12 during a meeting with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev on the sidelines of the 17th meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization held in Dushanbe.

Under the current complex and changing international situation, China is willing to innovate cooperation ideas together with Russia to further explore potential, the Premier said.

He added that cooperation in energy, finance, as well as science and technology, should be boosted to enhance bilateral high-quality cooperation.

China and Kyrgyzstan agreed to further enhance bilateral ties to benefit the peoples of both countries on Oct 12.

The pledge came as Premier Li Keqiang met with Kyrgyz Prime Minister Mukhammedkaliy Abylgaziyev on the sidelines of the 17th meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Council of Heads of Government in Dushanbe.

Premier Li said that the two countries are highly complementary in economy and have a lot of room for cooperation, adding that China stands ready to further synergize the Belt and Road Initiative with the Kyrgyz development strategies and push for an early implementation of the existing projects.

He called for more cooperation in connectivity, adding that China encourages capable Chinese enterprises to invest in Kyrgyzstan and hopes that Kyrgyzstan can facilitate the work of these firms and their employees.

Premier Li also called for efforts to promote cooperation in the areas of culture and people-to-people exchanges.

China is willing to better dovetail development strategies with Belarus, said Premier Li Keqiang on Oct 12.

He made the remarks during a meeting with Belarusian Prime Minister Sergei Rumas on the sidelines of the 17th meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Council of Heads of Government in Dushanbe.

China stands ready to better dovetail its development strategies with Belarus, promote win-win practical cooperation, intensify cultural and people-to-people exchanges and expand cooperation in the areas of tourism and education, he said.

China will continue to play a constructive role in promoting the political reconciliation in Afghanistan and help with the country’s peaceful reconstruction, said Premier Li Keqiang on Oct 12.

His remarks came as he met with Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah on the sidelines of the 17th meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Council of Heads of Government in Dushanbe.

China is willing to help Afghanistan boost reconstruction and improve its people’s livelihood by aligning the two countries’ development strategies and deepening bilateral practical cooperation, said the Premier.

China also encourages more capable Chinese enterprises to participate in Afghanistan’s infrastructure construction so as to boost the country’s connectivity with other countries in the region, said Premier Li.

He added that China will enhance anti-terror cooperation and personnel training with Afghanistan, and promote trilateral cooperation among China, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Premier Li Keqiang suggested that China and Uzbekistan work together to translate their high-level political relations into more fruitful cooperation results on Oct 12.

His remarks came as he met with Uzbek Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov on the sidelines of the 17th meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Council of Heads of Government in Dushanbe.

China, said Premier Li, stands ready to conduct cooperation with Uzbekistan on industrial capacity that is highly efficient and environment-friendly, share its experience of development, encourage more competent Chinese enterprises to participate in Uzbekistan’s industrialization process, and push for new progress in energy cooperation.

China would like to tap the potential in agricultural cooperation and import high-quality agricultural produce from Uzbekistan, said the Premier, calling for joint efforts to prepare for the intergovernmental mechanism meeting slated for next year.

He also called for closer win-win cooperation in such areas as trade, people-to-people exchanges and local-level cooperation.

Premier Li Keqiang met with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on Oct 13.

Premier Li said that China is willing to make the effort, along with Tajikistan, to make the all-around China-Tajik strategic partnership scale new heights.

China encourages competent Chinese enterprises to invest in Tajikistan. In that case, China hopes Tajikistan will create a benign business environment and make improvements in its customs and transportation accordingly, the Premier said.

In the meantime, Tajikistan is more than welcome to export premium agricultural products to China.

China and Tajikistan will support each other and seek common development to boost bilateral ties to new levels, Premier Li Keqiang said during a meeting with Tajik Prime Minister Kokhir Rasulzoda in Dushanbe on Oct 13.

Premier Li said cooperation in economy and trade and investment must be expanded. Leading and trustworthy Chinese companies are encouraged to invest in Tajikistan in the fields of energy, power, mineral exploitation, industrial capacity and processing.

The Premier said connectivity should be strengthened, with more to be done in transportation, energy, and border infrastructure development.

Cooperation on agriculture needs to be expanded, he said, adding that the focus is agricultural processing and import of more high-quality Tajik farm products.

Premier Li also spoke of the need to improve the business environment, strengthen cultural and people-to-people exchanges, and tighten coordination and cooperation under the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

Premier Li Keqiang arrived in Amsterdam, the Netherlands on Oct 14 for an official visit to the Netherlands, the first by a Chinese premier in 14 years.

Premier Li Keqiang was greeted with a grand welcome ceremony by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Oct 15 in the Netherlands.

China and the Netherlands pledged to jointly safeguard multilateralism and free trade by carrying out more open and pragmatic cooperation, against the backdrop of a complicated international situation with increasing uncertainties.

The pledge was made as Premier Li Keqiang held talks with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in The Hague on Oct 15.

Premier Li said China is willing to learn the Dutch experience in managing an aging society and establishing cooperation mechanisms in areas such as urbanization, elder care and clean energy technologies.

China welcomes Dutch companies to increase investment and share the dividend of China’s new round of opening up and high-quality development, Premier Li said.

China and the Netherlands called for global efforts to support and promote free trade and safeguard multilateralism to handle the rising challenges confronting the world.

In a joint news conference held by visiting Premier Li Keqiang and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Oct 15 in The Hague, Premier Li said that the two countries will cement consensus and work together to boost free trade and improve the multilateral trading system under the backdrop of growing uncertainties.

“Free trade is not a rejection of fair trade,” Premier Li said. “Without free trade, there is no fair trade; while without fair trade, free trade will not gain sustainable development.”

Premier Li reiterated China’s determination to be more open to the world, saying that his country will continue to expand its markets for Dutch investments in such areas as agriculture and service.

Premier Li Keqiang met with Dutch King Willem-Alexander on Oct 15, urging the two countries to enhance cooperation in various areas and defend multilateralism and free trade.

The development of China-Netherlands ties not only benefits both nations, but also bears major significance for China-Europe relations, he said.

China, the Premier said, is willing to work with the Dutch side to deepen cooperation in various fields, including investment, financing and inclusive finance, and create favorable conditions for their companies, especially those small- and medium-sized ones, to conduct cooperation.

Dutch companies, he added, are welcome to make investment in China.

He called upon the two countries, both being open economies and major global traders, to support the rules-based international political and economic order, abide by commonly accepted norms, work together to defend multilateralism and free trade, and inject more certainties into the world.

China and the Netherlands agreed to enhance exchanges and cooperation between the two legislative bodies for the further development of the two countries’ relations.

Interactions between the two legislative bodies serve as an important part of China-Netherlands ties, Premier Li Keqiang said when meeting with Ankie Broekers-Knol, president of the Senate, and Khadija Arib, president of the House of Representative of the Netherlands in The Hague on Oct 16.

“Your high technologies are welcome in the Chinese market,” Premier Li Keqiang said, sending invitations to Dutch entrepreneurs after hearing their introduction of achievements while visiting a high-tech exhibition at The Hague Municipal Museum, with his Dutch counterpart, Mark Rutte, on Oct 16.

The exhibition displayed some products and cutting-edge projects of the Netherlands, including an integrated equipment system for cancer treatment, high-precision medical devices, green agricultural products, safe self-driving technologies and repair nanotechnologies for aircraft engines.

After the high-tech exhibition, a roundtable meeting on bilateral cooperation in trade and high technologies was held among Premier Li, the Dutch prime minister, and eight chiefs of international corporations based in the Netherlands on Oct 16.

“I’m here to assure you that enterprises registered in China, no matter Chinese or foreign invested, are equally treated,” Premier Li said, adding that China will continue to be a promised land for foreign capital.

The Chinese economy is undergoing a transformation and upgrading process toward high-quality development, and China welcomes Dutch enterprises, regardless of their size, to cooperate with their Chinese counterparts, the Premier said.

“Innovation should not just be creations in labs, but be commercialized in the market,” he said. “China is a large market, with 1.4 billion population, so I believe Dutch companies would find their potential in commercializing innovations, and I hope Chinese enterprises will hold a more open attitude to working with the Dutch side in innovation.”

Speaking of intellectual property rights, the Premier expressed his resolution to protect IPR, saying innovation cooperation will be meaningless without IPR protection. China will make more efforts to protect IPR to observe international rules, attract foreign capital, as well as transform the economy.

“It’s forbidden in China to transfer IPR by force. Transactions must be based on enterprises’ will,” the Premier said. Last year, the IPR transfer fees Chinese enterprises paid ranked second in the world, demonstrating its progress in IPR protection. IPR violations are definitely forbidden in China. And China will strictly follow its laws and international rules to crack down on any infringement and impose harsh penalties on violators.

He made the commitment that the Chinese government will spare no effort to protect IPR and create a favorable environment for innovation cooperation.

Premier Li Keqiang on Oct 16 called on Dutch enterprises to explore the Chinese market and partner with Chinese enterprises for innovation cooperation.

China is implementing its innovation-driven development strategy, with a boom of new growth drivers now contributing to some two thirds of the newly created employment, the Premier said.

With a population of 1.4 billion, China has a vast market. Consumption is in the process of becoming the main growth driver of the Chinese economy, which creates enormous potential for the innovative products of Dutch enterprises in China, Premier Li said.

He also encouraged Chinese enterprises to partner with the Dutch enterprises in innovation.

Meanwhile, Premier Li vowed to further strengthen IPR protection, saying that China by no means allows any forced transfer of the IPR. “Any transfer of the IPR must be based on the will of the enterprises.”

Without IPR protection, innovation cooperation is impossible and expansion of investment in the Chinese market lacks foundation, Premier Li said.

The Premier said any IPR violation in China will be severely punished in accordance with the law.

Premier Li Keqiang arrived in Brussels on Oct 16 for a working visit to Belgium and the 12th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit.

China is ready to work with Belgium to strengthen cooperation and exchanges at all levels, said Premier Li Keqiang on Oct 17.

Premier Li made the remarks in Brussels when holding talks with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel during a working visit to the country.

Noting that China-Belgium ties have maintained the momentum of sound development, Premier Li said Belgian companies are welcomed to invest in China, which will give equal treatment to all foreign enterprises as domestic enterprises.

Premier Li said China is willing to import more high-quality Belgian agricultural products that suit the demands of Chinese market and hopes that Belgium can further facilitate bilateral trade and economic cooperation.

Premier Li said the two countries can boost cooperation in technology and innovation and expand nuclear cooperation on the basis of abiding by international laws and meeting international obligations.

The two countries can deepen practical cooperation in infrastructure development and the digital economy while actively exploring the third-party market cooperation, he added.

China and Belgium agreed to keep unleashing complementary advantages, tapping more cooperation potential, and yielding greater development achievements in pragmatic cooperation.

Premier Li Keqiang made the remarks at a joint news conference with his Belgian counterpart, Charles Michel, in Brussels on Oct 17.

He suggested the two sides further expand two-way opening-up, upgrade the level of bilateral trade and investment, deepen cooperation in nuclear energy, aviation and aerospace, and enhance innovation cooperation.

On relations with Europe, the Premier stressed that China and Belgium will work together toward a healthy and stable development of China-Europe relations.

He added that the two countries will jointly forge ahead connectivity between Asia and Europe and facilitate the process of a China-Europe bilateral investment treaty (BIT) negotiation.

Premier Li Keqiang visited the Interuniversity Micro Electronics Center (IMEC) with Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Work, Economic Affairs and Consumer Affairs Kris Peeters on Oct 18.

“This might be one of the most advanced chips in the world currently,” said an IMEC officer. Premier Li took the vinyl record-size chip, took off his glasses, looked at it closely, and then asked several questions.

China and Vietnam promised to make joint efforts to develop industrial and trade cooperation so as to build a closer partnership between the two neighbors in Brussels on Oct 18.

Citing the fact that China and Vietnam share natural and unique advantages in cooperation, Premier Li said China stands ready to work with Vietnam, on the basis of implementing top-level consensus, to promote production capacity cooperation that meets environmental standards and benefits Vietnam’s industrialization process.

The two countries, Premier Li suggested, should expand bilateral trade in a balanced and sustainable way, promote bilateral friendship and communication at all levels, and cement public support for their relations.

The two sides also need to bear the big picture in mind, properly handle the maritime issues, and jointly safeguard the peace and stability in the South China Sea as well as in the region, Premier Li added.

China and Cambodia are ready to expand cooperation in areas including trade and investment, the two countries’ leaders said in Brussels on Oct 18.

The message was sent from a meeting between Premier Li Keqiang and Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen.

The Premier called upon the two countries to enhance synergy of their development strategies and expand bilateral trade.

China is willing to continue importing Cambodia’s competitive agricultural products, and encourage competent Chinese companies to make investments in Cambodia, so as to achieve win-win results, he said.

Premier Li Keqiang said in Brussels on Oct 18 that China stands ready to work with France to further expand two-way opening-up so as to promote the continuously balanced growth of investment and trade, and maintain a positive outlook for enterprises from both countries.

Premier Li’s remarks came as he met with French President Emmanuel Macron on the sidelines of the 12th summit of the Asia-Europe Meeting held in the Belgium capital from Oct 18 to 19.

Premier Li Keqiang has called on Asian and European countries to jointly safeguard the positive momentum of the global economic recovery, stressing the importance of multilateralism, open economy, connectivity and people-to-people exchanges.

Premier Li made the remarks on Oct 19 in Brussels when addressing the 12th Asia-Europe Meeting Summit (ASEM)

Noting that Asia and Europe are two stabilizing forces of the world as well as two major economic blocs, Premier Li said Asian and European countries, faced with new circumstances and challenges, should rise up to their responsibilities to maintain world peace while boosting development and prosperity.

Premier Li said Asian and European countries must strengthen consultation and cooperation, firmly uphold the rules-based international order, the authority of the United Nations, and the purposes and principles of its charter.

The Premier urged Asia and Europe to stay committed to building an open world economy, saying that the hard-won momentum of the world economic recovery still calls for adherence to open development, and promoting a more inclusive and balanced global division of labor.

The two continents should also resolutely safeguard the rules-based multilateral trading system and consolidate the foundation for economic globalization and free trade, he added.

When making appropriate adjustments and improvements to the existing rules of the World Trade Organization, Premier Li said, the basic principle of free trade should be adhered to, the interests and concerns of all sides should be fully taken into consideration. Special attention should also be paid to protecting the rights and interests of developing countries.

Efforts should be made to both promote global economic growth and prosperity and narrow the South-North gap, the Premier said.

Premier Li called for promoting connectivity of infrastructure to build networks of transportation, industries, and logistics across Asia and Europe.

Meanwhile, he said, involved countries should also enhance “soft connectivity” of systems, policies, rules and standards in order to stimulate vigor of elements such as capital, technology, services and data.

He also called for efforts to further align the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative with development strategies of various countries to achieve shared development and prosperity.

Premier Li stressed the need to increase people-to-people exchanges to inject greater vitality into the Eurasian cooperation.

China welcomes Britain to seize the opportunity arising from its further opening-up and bring the mutually beneficial cooperation to a new height, Premier Li Keqiang said on Oct 19.

Premier Li made the remarks when meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May on the sidelines of the 12th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit in the Belgian capital Brussels.

He said that China welcomes Britain to seize the opportunity and expand cooperation with China in economy and trade, finance and manufacturing, as well as in jointly exploring third-party markets, bringing the mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries to a new height.

Premier Li Keqiang called for expanding two-way openness and deepening pragmatic cooperation in line with the principle of mutual benefit and win-win results, against the backdrop of a complicated international landscape, on Oct 19.

The remarks came as Premier Li met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the sidelines of the 12th Asia-Europe Meeting Summit in Brussels.

German enterprises such as chemical company BASF and carmaker BMW, have already benefited from China’s new round of opening-up, said Premier Li, adding that China hopes that Germany will also provide a good business environment for Chinese companies.

China never deliberately pursues trade surplus in goods and hopes to work with Italy for a balanced increase of bilateral trade, to expand cooperation in energy, hi-tech manufacturing, creative design and to promote cooperation among medium- and small-sized enterprises of the two countries, Premier Li Keqiang said on Oct 19.

Premier Li made the remarks when meeting with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on the sidelines of the 12th Asia-Europe Meeting Summit in Brussels.

China is ready to synergize the Belt and Road Initiative with Italy’s development strategy, explore the third-party market cooperation, and promote bilateral pragmatic cooperation with practical actions to achieve new progress, Premier Li said.

Premier Li Keqiang pledged on Oct 19 joint efforts between his country and Greece to push for new achievements in practical cooperation marked by port projects in Piraeus.

Premier Li made the remarks when meeting with his Greek counterpart, Alexis Tsipras, on the sidelines of the 12th Asia-Europe Meeting Summit in Brussels.

Premier Li said China will encourage its capable enterprises to invest and develop in Greece, increase imports of Greece’s competitive agro-products and deepen financial cooperation with the country based on the principles of commercialization and sustainability.

Premier Li Keqiang said China and the European Union (EU) need to collectively and firmly safeguard multilateralism and the free trade system based on rules.

Premier Li made the remarks when he met with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Oct 19, saying China and the EU have maintained frequent high-level exchanges.