On the afternoon of November 5, 2016 local time, Premier Li Keqiang, together with leaders of 16 Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC), attended at Latvia Hotel in Riga the Sixth Economic and Trade Forum of China and Central and Eastern European Countries and delivered a keynote speech.
Li Keqiang expressed that over the past five years, the “16+1” cooperation mechanism has become increasingly mature and accumulated valuable experience that worth long-term adherence. First, equal consultation, mutual respect and assistance; Second, mutual benefits, reciprocity and win-win cooperation; Third, openness, inclusiveness and common development; Fourth, interactive development and joint creation and sharing. Li Keqiang put forth five proposals for expanding practical cooperation in various fields between China and Central and Eastern European countries:
First, extend bilateral trade scale. Both sides should step up efforts in creating sound environment for trade and investment, establish and improve customs and quarantine coordination mechanisms, and develop new ways of trade like cross-border e-commerce. China is willing to import quality agricultural products and marketable industrial products needed by the market, and hopes relevant countries provide more convenience for access of Chinese products and enterprises to the Central and Eastern European market.
Second, accelerate the process of connectivity. China encourages competent enterprises to participate in infrastructure construction of Central and Eastern European countries through various forms. China is willing to push the Belgrade-Budapest railway and the land-sea express passage between China and Europe to complete at an early date, support the construction of Asia-Europe transportation channels, increase the number of trains running between China and Europe, and set up more logistic centers in Central and Eastern European countries.
Third, deeply conduct production capacity cooperation. China is willing to build industrial and technological parks together with Central and Eastern European nations. China owns superior cost-effective equipment and production capacity, while the Central and Eastern European countries have needs to accelerate industrialization and the developed West European countries enjoy advanced technology and managerial expertise. A combination of the advantages of the three sides will bring about win-win and multi-win results.
Fourth, innovate in financial cooperation modes. A 16+1 financial holding company will be formally established, and it will mainly support the purchase of Chinese equipment and products in connectivity and production capacity cooperation projects under the 16+1 framework.
Fifth, explore potential for tourism cooperation. All sides should further ease visa policies, simplify border entry procedures and launch more direct flights. China hopes that the number of tourists between China and Central and Eastern European countries will double in five years.
Li Keqiang introduced China’s economic situation, expressing that in recent years, faced with the severe challenges of the weak world economic recovery and the deep-layered domestic conflicts accumulated in the long term, China’s economy has been running within a reasonable range, with its growth rate at the front rank of major economies and its structural adjustment and transformation accelerated. During the first nine months of this year, China’s GDP has increased by 6.7 percent year on year, new employment has remained stable, the quality and effectiveness of economic development have been raised, and the overall economy has exhibited a momentum of steady progress.
Li Keqiang pointed out that the reason for China’s economy to go through various difficulties and maintain steady growth and accelerate transformation is that we actively adapt to the new normal of economic development, stick to moderate expansion of the aggregate demand, work hard to promote the supply-side structural reform, and continuously enhance the inherent development momentum. First, stick to implementation of proactive fiscal policy as well as prudent monetary policy, and innovate the approaches of macroeconomic regulation. Second, advance structural adjustment and cultivate new dynamics for development through promoting reform, opening-up and innovation. Third, apply market-oriented and rules-based methods to actively forestall and defuse risks. As long as China’s economy runs in a stable and healthy way, all hidden risks will get solved in development.
Li Keqiang pointed out that looking forward into the future, China’s economy enjoys huge potential, enough advantages and ample space for maneuver, thus can absolutely maintain medium-to-high-speed growth and step into medium-high level. We are full of confidence in this. China’s market is open and will be more and more open in the future. China’s development is the opportunity for the whole world, and is bound to bring huge business opportunities for enterprises in all countries including Central and Eastern European countries. It is hoped that all parties will join efforts to construct a new type of partnership featuring openness and inclusiveness as well as mutual benefits and win-win results, and jointly embrace the beautiful tomorrow of economic and trade cooperation between China and Central and Eastern Europe.
Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis of Latvia expressed that the “16+1” cooperation has demonstrated huge potential, becoming a beneficial supplement to future EU-China cooperation. The Central and Eastern European countries are willing to make joint efforts with China to forge connectivity in a wide range of fields including transportation, finance, technology and humanity, so as to realize mutual benefit and win-win results.
Nearly 1,000 people from industrial and commercial circles of China and 16 Central and Eastern European countries attended the forum.
(This article is published on the official website of Chinese Foreign Ministry)