CHINA / National

Wen calls for talks on trade dispute with EU
Updated: 2006-04-26 09:32

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said Tuesday that the Chinese government wished to settle trade disputes with the European Union (EU) through dialogue and consultation.

China is willing to strengthen political exchanges and cooperation to resolve issues of common concern, including trade disputes, with the European Union based on the principles of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit," Wen told visiting Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (L) and Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen review a honour guard during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing April 25, 2006. Vanhanen is on an official visit to China from April 25 to 28. [Reuters]

"I hope that Finland will continue to contribute to China-EU relations when it holds the rotating EU presidency in the latter half of this year," he told Vanhanen.

Finland was one of the first developed countries to establish diplomatic relations and signed a bilateral trade agreement with the People's Republic of China. It had shown foresight in supporting China's resumption of its legal position in the United Nations in the 1970s.

The two countries had expanded contacts in fields such as culture, education, and science and technology, Wen added.

He expressed his appreciation for Finland's view on China's development and its positive policies toward China with a win-win feature in the globalization process.

The Chinese government valued its ties with Finland and would maintain high-level exchanges and communication between the two parliaments and among political parties, Wen said.

The two sides should actively implement their agreement on economic, industrial and technological cooperation, and expand cooperation in information communication, forestry, environmental protection and energy utilization.

Vanhanen called China an old friend of Finland, recognizing that high-level exchanges and trade ties had developed rapidly.

Finnish businesses had invested 5 billion euros in China and Finland would continue to foster cooperation in the areas of environmental protection, energy utilization, construction and social security, Vanhanen said.

The Finnish government also expected Premier Wen to visit Finland this autumn to attend the ninth China-EU Summit and the sixth Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), Vanhanen added.

Wen said the ASEM encouraged exchanges and cooperation between the two continents and played an important role in supporting the Asia-Europe partnership.

"China is willing to participate in Asia-Europe cooperation more actively and coordinate with the Finnish side to successfully host the upcoming ASEM," Wen vowed.

Vanhanen said China-EU trade volume was valued at more than 200 billion U.S. dollars last year.

He also vowed that Finland would promote China-EU relations when the country held the rotating EU presidency.

Wen met with Finnish business people after his talks with Vanhanen, saying China welcomed more Finnish enterprises to invest in the country and take part in China's economic construction, promising that China would continue to offer favorable legal and investment conditions for Finnish businesses.