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Market economy status good for trade with EU
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The European Union's early recognition of China's market economy status will be conducive to bilateral relations and free trade, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said Wednesday.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (R) shakes hands with British Business Secretary Peter Mandelson during their meeting in Beijing, capital of China, on Sept. 9, 2009. [Xinhua]

"The EU should recognize China's market economy status as early as possible," Premier Wen told Britain's Business Secretary Peter Mandelson at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Wednesday.

"This will be conducive to China-EU relations, to free trade and to the recovery and growth of the world economy," Wen said. He expressed the hope that Britain will play an active role in this process.

In 2004, New Zealand became the first country to recognize China's market economy status. Since then, more than 70 countries and organizations have recognized China as a market economy, including Russia, Australia, South Africa, Republic of Korea and Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Mandelson, who is also First Secretary of State, said Britain would like to strengthen macro economic policy coordination and substantive cooperation.

Since the outbreak of the global economic crisis, China and Britain have witnessed leaders' close communication and coordination, more business cooperation and joint efforts to help the international community with the crisis, Wen said.

"All these moves signified the vitality of the China-Britain all-round strategic partnership," Wen said.

China and Britain are working toward a two-way trade value of 60 billion U.S. dollars by 2010, a figure agreed by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown when he visited Beijing in January 2008.

Despite the global economic downturn, China-Britain trade hit are cord high of 45.6 billion U.S. dollars in 2008.

Mandelson is leading a trade delegation to Beijing. In a speech at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee Tuesday morning, Mandelson said Britain and the EU will continue to argue for wider access to China's markets and for direct investment in the country.

But he said these arguments would not affect the overall relationship between Britain, EU and China.

Mandelson, the former EU Trade Commissioner, emphasized that the EU itself had an important role to play in making its relationship with China a success.

"We need to develop a clearer and consistent channel for communicating with China, especially on trade and climate change issues," Mandelson said.

Mandelson will also travel to Changsha, capital of central China's Hunan Province.

(Xinhua News Agency September 10, 2009)

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