Li expected to sign big deals in Romania

Updated: 2013-11-23 00:12

By ZHAO YINAN and MO JINGXI (China Daily)

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Exploring global market effective to deal with overcapacity, experts say

A string of economic agreements and contracts are expected to be signed during Premier Li Keqiang's upcoming visit to Romania, where he will meet leaders from Central and Eastern Europe.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the deals will help Chinese enterprises expand overseas and upgrade utility services in Central and Eastern Europe, especially in infrastructure, manufacturing, hydro-power and nuclear energy.

Li will visit Romania from Nov 25 to 27, during which he will also attend the China-Central and Eastern Europe leaders' meeting.

Vice-Foreign Minister Song Tao said the three-day trip will be Li's first visit to a Central and Eastern European country as premier. He is also the first Chinese premier to visit Romania in almost two decades.

Trade between China and Central and Eastern European countries reached $52.1 billion in the first 10 months of the year. Trade between China and Romania totaled $3.3 billion over the same period, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

"Cooperation opportunities will be discussed during the meetings between Li and leaders from 16 Central and Eastern European countries," said Zhang Xiangchen, assistant foreign minister, who hinted that infrastructure will be a priority at the meeting.

A number of projects, such as the construction of highways and power plants, are being considered. China is also planning to expand imports of dairy and agricultural products from Romania, Zhang said.

Analysts said Li's "economic diplomacy" will relieve Chinese enterprises of their excess industrial capacity.

Zhu Feng, deputy director of the Center for International and Strategic Studies at Peking University, said the deals will help China with its issues of overcapacity.

"The Chinese economy is undergoing major reforms. It is time for China's economic diplomacy to focus more on exploring global markets, building a healthier global trade system and forging more positive economic partnerships to create a favorable external environment for the country's economic transition and industrial upgrading," Zhu said.

Hu Zucai, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission, has previously said that exploring global markets could be an effective way to deal with overcapacity. The government should encourage Chinese enterprises to seek global deals to tackle their overcapacity challenges.

Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta told Xinhua News Agency that Li's visit will be a "historic one". He added that the gathering of "prime ministers from 16 central and eastern European countries in Bucharest for the China-CEE leaders' meeting is proof of the strong will of these countries to strengthen their friendly ties with China and further shore up mutual economic and trade cooperation".

Xinhua contributed to this story.