Search is on for new investments

Updated: 2015-06-30 07:50

By Liu Jia in Brussels for China Daily(China Daily)

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Beijing and Brussels should find new ways to cooperate on boosting investment, a subject that has topped their joint agenda, said the vice-president of the European Commission.

Jyrki Katainen, who is also commissioner for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness, made the comment before joining Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's meeting with his Brussels counterparts.

"It is good tohave a summit here in Europe, because we are very keen on deepening cooperation in many fields with China, especially regarding the economy," Katainen told China Daily.

"The summit will be followed by the high-level economic dialogue at the end of September in China," he said, adding that the occasion will also be an opportunity for further decision-making.

Katainen said that both China and Europe have been faced with the challenge of boosting investment. "This is what I'm responsible for within the EU. Our aim is to find new ways to cooperate in investment," he said.

Investment is important for long-term competitiveness and core opportunities for both sides, Katainen said. From his perspective, it is probably the biggest positive agenda that China and the EU share.

Katainen said it's possible to connect the 315 billion euro ($352 billion) European Fund of Strategic Investment, designed to kick-start growth across Europe, with the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative.

The investment fund is a structure that is perfect for selecting investments, and it is open to Chinese investors, too.

Katainen said Monday's summit and the high-level economic dialogue in September are key events that have the capacity to create something new. "We are open and willing to listen to Chinese proposals if there is something concrete, then we can assess the proposals further."

Katainen said the investment fund is expected to last three years. "But projects, of course, cannot be finalized in three years. So the investment, which will benefit from the fund, will last longer than that.

"There are also possibilities to prolong the fund's lifetime if it works well," he said.

He said both sides have to discuss how Europe can participate in the Belt and Road Initiative.

"We don't have the decision yet," he said. "If China would like to propose something, as I said, we are open-minded for further cooperation."

The EU has a new risk fund, which will finance higher-risk private sector projects, and as a part of this plan many member states will cooperatively establish investment plat-forms that will be regarded as regional funds.

"Those platforms are open for external investment - this could be something that may interest China. Also, if the country wants to diversify the risk profiles of investment, these new regional platforms could be a new opportunity for Chinese investors," Katainen said.

He said the platforms will concentrate on infrastructure financing.

"Both sides were discussing deepening the cooperation in investment. Hopefully we can achieve good results," he said.