Li Keqiang: Seeking New Strategy for the Development of OBOR in European Tour

Date:2016-09-20 10:06  Author:admin   Click:
From June 28 to July 2, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will attend the 17th China-EU leaders’ meeting in Brussels and also pay an official visit to Belgium, France and the headquarters of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development. It coincides with the 40th anniversary of China-EU diplomatic relations and is the first time for Chinese Premier to visit France in the last 10 years. It is said by specialists that this visit will realize a new leap forward in the development of China-EU relations and benefit the two peoples. 

It is the first meeting between China and EU since the change of the EU leadership and also the first time for Li to visit the headquarters of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development as Chinese Premier. Both parties review the 40 years’ relationship and look into the future to create synergy of the development strategies combined with their respective development planning.

Cui Hongjian, the director of the European branch of China Institute of International Studies pointed out: “President of the European Commission, Mr. Juncker proposed an aspiring financing plan which will mainly invest in programs in infrastructure and traffic facilities. In fact, the “Juncker’s investment plan” has a something in common with China’s open policy to cooperate with other countries, including OBOR initiative. In this context, it is a historic event that Premier Li Keqiang attend the meeting between China and the EU leaders. The two sides will find some common points for cooperation from their own development plans.

Director of European Branch of CICIR said that “Juncker’s investment plan” involves construction of 9 core network corridors in Europe, touching development in energy and resource, transportation infrastructure construction, science and technology research, the development of communication technology, which are in conformity with what is planned in OBOR initiative. I think this is a new growth point for China EU cooperation in the future.

The EU has been China’s largest trading partner while China has been the EU’s second largest trading partner for 12 years. Bilateral trade volume for the first time exceeded 600 billion U.S. dollars in 2014. China and the EU’s investment in each other have seen a rapid development, with Chinese investment in the EU in 2014 exceeding the EU investment in China for the first time. Cui Hongjian says the development of investment and cooperation will promote China-EU industrial cooperation, providing opportunities for joint development of the third market with the complementary advantages of both sides, which is closely related to “global capacity cooperation” developed by Premier Li Keqiang. 

Cui Hongjian says: “The ties between China and European countries will be developed from a simple trading relationship to cooperation in internal industry or rather in the industrial chain. In particular, the industrial cooperation between China and Europe has great potential, because the industrial structures of China and the EU are highly complementary, for example, the Sino-French cooperation in third party markets in production capacity. The two sides have jointly invested in projects to build nuclear power plants in the UK, based on which China and France can cooperate in other aspects.”

It is revealed by the Ministry of Commerce that a joint statement of cooperation in the third-party market are expected to be issued during Premier Li’s visit in France, which will be the first document of such kind signed between China and other countries.

After the Brussels trip, Li will visit France at the invitation of French Prime Minister Manuel Valls and it will be the first time for Li to visit France as Chinese Premier. France was the first Western countries to establish diplomatic relations with China. It is now playing an important role in the EU and one of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. The cooperation between China and France is of great strategic significance to both sides. Cui Hongjian said the Premier Li’s visit to France is of great significance to promote the transformation and upgrading of bilateral cooperation with new ideas in new models.

Cui Hongjian pointed out that in recent years, based on the traditional cooperation in such fields as nuclear power, aviation and so on, the two sides plan to tap the potential for new development, including medicine, urbanization, agriculture, etc. Sino French economic and trade cooperation has great potential, and the key is how to implement the consensus that has been reached so as to do some practical work in the promising fields which call for the cooperation between both sides.

According to the China ambassador to France, Zhai Jun, during Premier Li Keqiang’s visit in France, China and France will focus on joint exploitation of the third-party markets, cooperation in nuclear power and innovation, strengthening cooperation in trade, agriculture, finance, aerospace and other fields, to facilitate two-way investment and personnel exchanges. They also communicate and negotiate on such major international issues as global climate change and global economic governance. The issues touched in this visit involve not only international issues but also bilateral relations. The five-day visit to Europe will yield fruitful results and dozens of agreements are expected to be signed.