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Premier stresses on Sino-EU partnership
By Hu Qihua (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-12-08 02:08

Visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao vowed to further expand and deepen the relations between China and the Europe Union (EU), promote the development of an overall strategic partnership between the two sides.

Wen made the remarks in a written statement released at the airport as he arrived in The Netherlands yesterday evening to kick off a two-day visit.

He will attend the Seventh China-EU Summit to be held today and tomorrow..

While in The Netherlands, which holds the rotating EU presidency, Wen will also meet Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende and Queen Beatrix as part of a state visit.

Wen said that since the establishment of the overall strategic partnership in the sixth summit last year, relations between China and the EU have entered a "mature and stable" period.

Remarkable achievements have been made in various fields, such as co-operation in political, economic and agricultural areas, Wen said.

China will work together with the EU and The Netherlands to beef up relations.

The seventh China-EU conference is aimed at strengthening economic and political ties and will host a high-level business summit. Premier Wen will visit both houses of the Dutch parliament and the European Space Agency in Noordwijk.

Today, China and the EU are expected to release a joint statement on non-proliferation and arms control, and sign several agreements on science and technology exchanges and co-operation on customs issues.

Tomorrow, about 500 entrepreneurs from the EU will take part in the China-EU Business Summit and Wen is scheduled to give the keynote speech.

The central theme of the summit is "Translating Co-operation into Mutual Benefit."

China-EU bilateral trade is expected to hit US$180 billion this year, compared to US$125 billion last year. The figure reached US$142 billion in the first 10 months, enabling the EU to replace Japan as China's largest trading partner after its recent enlargement into a 25-member bloc in May.

"Now, more and more entrepreneurs in Europe, including some local overseas Chinese businessmen have shown strong enthusiasm and interests to invest in China," said Atom Zhou, vice-president of the overseas Chinese commercial council in The Hague, noting that the fast growing Chinese economy has made them confident of their future investment in China.

"Many European partners told me that they hoped to join us to co-operate with Chinese companies, especially after China's entry to the World Trade Organization" said Zhou, who owns 12 mobile phone shops in the country, adding that he will enlarge his business in China.

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