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Premier Proposes on Sino-German Trade

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Tuesday presented a five-point proposal on further expanding trade and economic cooperation between China and Germany.

Addressing members of the Asia-Pacific Committee of German Business, Wen noted that the recent enlargement of the European Union (EU) is of "great significance".

"The EU expansion (by 10 members to a total of 25 member states), which is of great significance to Europe, reflects the common aspirations of the Europeans in pushing forward the integration," he said.
"The development of Europe is not only in the interests of Europe, but also conducive to world peace, stability and common development," said the Chinese premier who is on a three-day official visit to Germany.

"China persistently supports European integration and is willing to witness the EU playing positive and constructive roles in international affairs," he added.

"A stable and prosperous Europe will provide new opportunities for developing Sino-European ties," he said. "We are willing to join hands with the EU to push forward the comprehensive strategic partnership set at the sixth meeting of Sino-European leaders last October."

He said Sino-German cooperation enjoys broad prospects. China, as the biggest developing country, boasts rich labor resources and broad markets while Germany is a developed country with advanced economic and scientific standards. Both economies are complementary and have great potential for trade and economic cooperation.

In his speech, the Chinese premier presented a five-point proposal on upgrading bilateral trade and economic cooperation to a new level:

-- Expanding bilateral trade scope and optimizing trade structure. Both sides need to set the future goal for economic and trade cooperation, and expand service trade;

-- Broadening investment areas and opening up new cooperation channels. Both sides should further strengthen all-round cooperation in the fields of high technology, information, agriculture, environmental protection and service sectors;

-- Enhancing the exchanges among the business circles, expanding cooperation of the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Both governments should bring such cooperation into the framework of economic and trade cooperation.

-- Promoting exchanges in sectors of science and technology, education and culture, and training qualified personnel for further economic and trade development;

-- Improving the consultation mechanism to guarantee the healthy development of bilateral economic and trade cooperation.

With joint concerted efforts, Wen said, Sino-German economic and trade cooperation had scored tremendous achievements in the past years. Bilateral trade volume has increased to 41.8 billion US dollars in 2003 from the 270 million dollars in the early 1970s when the two countries established diplomatic ties, he added.

By February this year, Germany has 3,578 direct investment projects in China while China has nearly 600 enterprises investing in Germany.

Sino-German economic and trade cooperation has laid a solid base for the all-round development of bilateral ties, he said.

Wen also briefed on China's domestic economic situation, saying China has undertaken enormous changes since implementing the reform and opening up policy in 1978 and has created a pattern of all-round opening up.

The continued reform and opening up policy has not only brought benefits to the Chinese people but more commercial opportunities for foreign businessmen, he said.

Last year, China imported foreign commodities worth 410 billion dollars, a 40 percent increase over the previous year. Imports from Germany alone grew 48.3 percent last year, he added.

The deeply-rooted Sino-German friendship has created a solid foundation for economic cooperation, he said.

Wen kicked off his 11-day European tour in Germany on Sunday. The tour will also take him to Belgium, Italy, Britain and Ireland. He will also visit the EU headquarters in Brussels.

(Xinhua News Agency May 5, 2004)

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