China and 16 Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries show promising cooperation prospects, as Premier Li Keqiang is about to leave for Bulgaria on July 5 for the seventh “16+1” leaders’ meeting.
In 2017, China’s import and export trade volume with 16 CEE countries totaled nearly $68 billion, growing 15.9 percent over the previous year. The trade volume accounted for 8.73 percent of the total China and European trade, compared with 7.55 percent in 2017.
Since the “16+1” cooperation mechanism was initiated in 2012, China and the CEE countries have made midterm cooperation plans and launched major projects such as the Hungary-Serbia Railway and China-Europe Land-Sea Express Route. Cooperation on investment, tourism and agriculture has also grown rapidly.
Although China and the CEE countries are geographically far apart, we enjoy mutual political trust and complementary economic advantages, as well as great potential for cooperation, Premier Li Keqiang once said.
He said the “16+1” cooperation has “achieved beyond expected results” in 2017 at the sixth leaders’ meeting and described it as an integral part of China-Europe ties.
“The ‘16+1’ cooperation not only benefits the two sides, but also benefits the balanced development in the region and the European integration process,” he said.
It is a long-term commitment, instead of a policy of expediency, and will promote the balanced development of China-Europe ties, he noted.
China and the CEE countries, which are at a similar development stage, are one another’s huge market and opportunities.
As for the coming leaders’ meeting, China expects to strengthen mutual trust with the CEE countries, safeguard economic globalization and free trade and investment together, and make a plan for the future of the “16+1” cooperation, said Vice-Foreign Minister Wang Chao at a news briefing.