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Spain to Speed Up Investment in West China

With the Spanish government shifting its investment focus to west China, its "China Program", launched this May, will allure more Spanish companies to the vast and undeveloped region, said a Spanish official in Chengdu Monday.

Ricardo Blazquez, director of Spanish Valencia Autonomous Region foreign trade bureau's Shanghai office, said "the Chinese mainland has already become an indispensable part of economic globalization, which has attracted many Spanish entrepreneurs."

He said the energy-abundant western part of China will become one of the world's most important markets, which should not be neglected by any nations or individuals.
The Spanish government issued a "China Program" this May, aiming to strengthen its economic relationship with China.
The program said the Chinese market will be given priority in Spain's overseas development. It also promised to invest 690 million euros in China in the next three years, mainly developing trade and tourism.
The Spanish government is paying increasing attention to investment in west China.
The first Sino-Spanish foreign trade office in the western region is under construction.
Spain started its economic cooperation with China in the 1980sin the eastern coastal provinces.
In 1994, Valencia Autonomous Region established a sister province relation with southwest China's Sichuan Province. Since then, the vast west of China has aroused great interest in the Spanish business circle, said Huang Xiaoxiang, vice governor of Sichuan.
In 1999, Sichuan imported a vegetable plastic wrap production line from the Spanish FOMESE company, starting west China's economic cooperation with Spain.
Three years later, a Spanish Baroque furniture center was founded in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan. The official said the project, with an investment of more than 100 million yuan (about US$12 million), signified that the potential of the west China market had already been recognized by the Spanish investors.
For a long time, Latin America was the first choice of many Spanish companies, yet more and more investors are changing their foreign investment strategies and orientations, Blazquez said.
Statistics from the State Development and Reform Commission said that Spain invested 63 million euros in China last year, 132 percent higher than that in 2003.
About 200 Spanish companies have set up factories, opened branches or established offices in China, with a total investment of 430 million euros.
Huang said the two major investment areas, west China and Latin America are mutually complementary in natural resources.
Spain's investment in west China will realize a beneficial situation for the three regions, said the official.

(Xinhua News Agency July 19, 2005)

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