BEIJING: China and Europe stand to benefit from closer cooperation, said Chinese premier Li Keqiang in an article, published in German newspaper Handelsblatt, as he kicked off a visit to the continent.
In the article titled ‘Embracing Openness and Cooperation for Mutual Benefit’, Li pointed to rising instabilities and uncertainties in the international situation and a resurgence of protectionism, unilateralism and anti-globalisation sentiments.
Against such a backdrop, China and Europe need to jointly uphold multilateralism and the free trade system by following a strategic and global perspective and a sensible approach, Li said.
“Our two sides need to work together to promote an open world economy and address long-running issues and new challenges confronting the human society to inject stability into an increasingly uncertain world,” he said.
China, the premier said, will continue to cooperate with the European Union on a broad range of issues, such as upholding the Paris Agreement, promoting sustainable development, adhering to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the Iranian nuclear issue and combating terrorism.
The country, he added, is also ready to step up communication and build consensus with the EU on such issues like advancing the reform of the WTO to fully accommodate the interests and concerns of all parties and better safeguard the interests of the majority of WTO members.
The premier noted that the past 40 years have witnessed a 250-fold increase in trade between the two sides, and that the EU has been China’s top trading partner for 15 years in a row, while China has been the EU’s second largest trading partner for years running.
The two-way trade hit a new record of $682.16 billion in 2018, close to eight million visits are exchanged between the two sides every year, and more than 600 flights connect them every week, he added.
This article originally appeared on the China Economic Net
Published in The Express Tribune, April 10th, 2019.