BEIJING - China and Japan, the world's second and third largest economies, agreed on Sunday to seek and develop "new engines" for growth, a move that will also help stabilize the global economy.
Premier Wen Jiabao said during a meeting with a Japanese delegation that the "green economy and industries" would be a major part in bilateral economic cooperation.
"China and Japan are among the most important economies worldwide, enhancement of bilateral cooperation will not only benefit both sides but also help ... the recovery of the world economy," Wen said.
He also said bilateral trade had rebounded to the level before the financial crisis.
On Friday, the US Department of Commerce revised its estimate of economic growth in the second quarter to an annual rate of 1.6 percent, compared with a July estimate of 2.4 percent. The estimate was significantly lower than the 3.7 percent growth in the first quarter. Some analysts are worried about the possibility of a double dip recession in the US, which would have a detrimental impact on the global economy.
Wen met the Japanese delegation led by Katsuya Okada, Japanese minister of foreign affairs, who participated in the third China-Japan High-level Economic Dialogue in Beijing on Saturday.
Zhang Ping, minister of National Development and Reform Commission and chief economic planner in China, also said on Saturday after the dialogue that energy savings and environmental protection would be an important sector for cooperation between China and Japan and would also act as a new engine for bilateral growth.
"Japan has advanced technology and China boasts a powerful consumption capacity. There is huge potential for cooperation in the sector," Zhang said.
China has long been the largest export destination for Japan and Japan is also the largest foreign investor in China. During the first seven months of this year, China-Japan trade surged 34.9 percent year-on-year to $161.7 billion, according to figures from the Chinese Customs. China's imports from Japan grew by 42.8 percent to $96.56 billion, and its exports stood at $65.1 billion, up by 24.7 percent.
This flourishing trade relationship heralds a new era in which both sides could develop even further cooperation, said researchers.
"The cooperation in energy savings and environmental protection could stimulate Japanese economic growth and help China improve the quality of its economy," said Song Hong, director of the International Trade Department under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
Although China's economic growth slowed to 10.3 percent during the second quarter, it was still among the highest worldwide. Since the financial crisis, the Chinese government has been dedicated to boosting domestic consumption to avoid reliance on exports and investment. It has also tried to develop green industries to sustain economic growth. These measures translate into business opportunities for Japanese companies.
During the meeting on Sunday, Okada said the future of China and Japan was becoming increasingly integrated.
"Not only do Japanese companies position it (China) as a manufacturing base, more importantly, they regard it as a very important consumer market," Okada said.
During the economic dialogue on Saturday, China and Japan signed seven agreements on energy savings, environmental protection, food quality, logistics and improving the business environment.
During the talks, both sides expressed their concerns. China urged Japan to lessen restrictions on high-tech exports to China, while Japan hoped China would pay more attention to exports of mining materials and indigenous innovation.
Minister of Commerce Chen Deming said on Saturday that China's control on exports of rare earths (minerals) was for the protection of environmental and natural resources, and the practice was in line with World Trade Organization rules.
The China-Japan high level economic dialogue, launched by Wen and then Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, first convened in 2007 in Beijing. The second meeting was held in 2009 in Tokyo.