Wu concludes tour by vowing support

Updated: 2012-05-31 08:10

By Zhao Yinan (China Daily)

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Beijing will help EU deal with debt crisis, says top legislator

Wu Bangguo, the top Chinese legislator, concluded a visit to four European countries on Wednesday that was meant to strengthen relations between China and the debt-stricken region.

"China will have a presence in helping Europe deal with the ongoing debt crisis, and we believe Europe will overcome these temporary obstacles by relying on a sound economic base and advanced technologies, as well as assistance from other countries such as China," Wu said during a visit to Spain.

It was the last stop on his tour, which took him to the Netherlands, Croatia and Luxembourg.

Wu, chairman of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, the nation's top legislative body, visited the region at a time when Europe continues to struggle with its debt troubles, and many countries are seeking help from China, analysts said.

"Wu's tour is a continuation of China's support of Europe to help it get rid of sovereign debt and climb out of economic recession," said Feng Zhongping, professor of Sino-Europe relations with the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

Since 2010, China has been in discussions about possible ways that European countries can escape their financial woes, Feng said. He deemed such work "an initiative not only beneficial for Europe, but also for China".

"The two sides are highly complementary in trade and economic cooperation, so the recession in Europe has had a negative influence on China's export market," he said.

The European Union is China's chief trade partner, market for exports and main source of transferred technology. China, for its part, is the EU's chief source of imported goods.

Trade between China and the EU reached a total value of $567.2 billion in 2011, up more than 18 percent year-on-year, according to statistics from the Ministry of Commerce.

Saying that trade and economic exchanges are the foundation of the ties between China and the EU, Wu has pledged to promote cooperation on endeavors that European countries have a comparative advantage in, such as high-end manufacturing, aviation, the use of alternative sources of energy and energy conservation.

Wu's statement, which experts said is part of the country's attempts to bring balance to the trade conducted between China and Europe, also shows that the world's second-largest economy is seeking new opportunities for exchanges between China and the EU.

"It's China's rediscovery of European values," Feng said.

He said China could use Europe's experiences in dealing with urbanization and social management as models as it tries to overcome difficulties arising from rapid development.

Exchanges on these topics, he said, will be different from types of cooperation that were common in the past, which often pertained to trade and the economy.

"China is not going to blindly copy overseas models of development, but is trying to learn from its mistakes to avoid similar problems," he said.

The trip, which started on May 15, first took Wu to the Netherlands, where the top lawmaker described relations between that country and China as being "at their best".

On the second leg of the tour, Wu paid a visit to a newly established Confucius School in Croatia, where he called for the two countries to cooperate more closely on culture and tourism.

In Luxembourg, Wu visited the Bank of China's European headquarters and urged overseas branches of Chinese banks to expand their business in offshore finance and in settling trade across national borders with the RMB.

During his last stop, China and Spain pledged to cooperate more on trade and the use of renewable energy.


(China Daily 05/31/2012 page11)