Wen's visit to boost China-Europe ties
Updated: 2012-04-17 08:10
By Zhang Yunbi (China Daily)
Substantial environmental and economic cooperation will highlight Premier Wen Jiabao's upcoming visit to Germany and three other European countries, Chinese senior officials said on Monday.
Wen is scheduled to visit Iceland, Germany, Sweden and Poland from April 20 to 27. He will inaugurate the 2012 Hannover Messe during his visit to Germany and meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Both countries "stress entity economy and are manufacturing powers", Deputy Foreign Minister Song Tao said at a news conference in Beijing. Wen is also planning to visit the global headquarters of German automaker Volkswagen.
China is the partner country at this year's Hannover Messe, the largest international industrial fair, and officials said the event will provide a platform to boost commercial exchanges.
"The manufacturing industry as well as the energy saving and ecological sectors will top the enterprises' exchanges during the exhibition," Song said.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of China-Germany diplomatic relations. Amid the global economic recession and looming euro debt crisis, China and Germany achieved an annual bilateral trade of around $170 billion in 2011, a year-on-year increase of 18.9 percent.
Germany is China's largest trading partner in Europe and fifth-largest global trade partner.
The China-Germany Ecological Park in Qingdao will be promoted during the Hannover Messe, and both countries will hold related executive meetings, said Deputy Minister of Commerce Jiang Deping. The foundation was laid for the park - the first leading intergovernmental project of both countries - in December.
The China-Sweden Ecological Park is also on the agenda of the commercial ministers' meeting during Wen's visit to Sweden, and a Memorandum of Understanding will be signed for energy saving. "Sweden is leading in sustainable development, and both countries share great potential," Jiang said.
During Wen's visit to Iceland, business delegates from both countries will sign contracts and nail down investments in geothermal energy as part of their deepened cooperation in sharing energy-saving technologies.
"The efficiency of utilizing geothermal energy and training more staff for the sector will be promoted during the visit," said Jiang.
Meanwhile, officials put high expectations on Wen's trip to Poland and China's evolving ties with Central and Eastern European countries.
Wen plans to attend the second China-Central and Eastern European Countries Economic and Trade Forum during his trip to Warsaw.
Zhang Jianxiong, a researcher on European studies with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said countries in the region have sped up their pace of cooperation with China in recent years. "After joining the European Union around six years ago, their economies are growing rapidly and they have access to a huge market as well as business opportunities with China," Zhang said.
The region boasts advantages in geology, industry and labor cost, while China and the region share a strong will for cooperation, Jiang said.
This is Wen's first visit to Poland after both countries established a strategic partnership in December, and also the first by a Chinese premier in 25 years.
Poland has been China's largest trading partner in Central and Eastern Europe in the past seven years. Infrastructure construction contracts are expected to be signed during Wen's trip.
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