Thursday, 19 July, 2018

Chinese premier's visit take China-Germany ties to new heights

China Charm Offensive in Former Soviet Bloc As Trump Trade War Declared Seventh 16+1 Summit takes place in Sofia
Ginger Lawrence | 09 July, 2018, 12:58

Li told a summit of eastern European leaders in Sofia that China would open the door wider for foreign products and said free trade needed to be firmly upheld to ensure sustained global economic growth.

"China supports European integration and a united EU because we understand that the EU is an important force for global prosperity and peace".

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang speaks during the 7th Summit of Heads of Government of CEEC and China in Sofia, Bulgaria July 7, 2018.

China has promised billions of dollars for development projects in central and eastern Europe as part of its Belt and Road Initiative to carve out new export markets.

China is inviting worldwide banks to finance a project for the construction of a high-speed railway linking Bulgaria's Black Sea coast to Greece's Aegean ports, Chinese prime minister Li Keqiang said on Friday.

Analysts have said Li, who will travel to Germany on Sunday ahead of a wider China-EU summit in Beijing, would avoid any issues that might irk western EU governments.

However, small markets in central and eastern Europe seem an unlikely target for China's efforts to compensate for lost revenues.

UK: David Davis resigns as Brexit Secretary
Despite his reservations, Mr Johnson fell into line along with the rest of the Cabinet's Brexit-backing ministers. Brexit-supporting Conservative MPs were quick to voice their concerns on Saturday, Xinhua news agency reported.

A consortium can be established with worldwide banks for the construction of the high-speed railway, while other formats of cooperation are also acceptable, Keqiang said.

It marks Li's first tour to Bulgaria after taking office, and also the first visit to Bulgaria paid by a Chinese premier in 18 years.

"There is no fundamental conflict of interests between China and Europe", Li said.

Li said China would like to import more agricultural products from central and eastern Europe and was interested in buying up to 10 million tons of tobacco leaves from Bulgaria. The new list widens market access for foreign investment in primary, secondary and tertiary sectors, detailing 22 opening-up measures in fields including finance, transportation, professional services, infrastructure, energy, resources and agriculture.

Some 18 bilateral agreements and memorandums were signed, but no new major deals were announced.

Bulgaria hopes the summit will help secure funds to build new infrastructure, mainly in the Balkans, which still lags richer western European Union states. Last month, Hungary finalised the construction timetable with China for a Budapest-Belgrade rail link, one of the biggest Chinese-backed infrastructure projects in the region.

Friday's long-expected tariff volley fuelled fear that a prolonged and escalating battle would deal a blow to global trade, investment and growth, while also damaging US farmers who stand to lose revenues and potentially driving up food prices in China.