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Joining hands to promote industry
By He Na (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-12-09 01:12

Vice-Premier Zeng Peiyan said visiting German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's visit to Northeast China reflects the German Government's support for rejuvenating the old industrial base of Northeast China.

"Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Northeast China trip will play an important role in expanding Sino-German economic co-operation," Zeng said during the symposium on co-operation and trade between Northeast China and Germany in Changchun, Capital of Jilin Province, yesterday morning.

Trade and investment co-operation between three Northeast China's provinces and the key European Union member have been growing in recent years.

To date, Germany has invested in 270 projects in the area, placing more than US$ 1.2 billion into sectors such as the automobile, chemical, electro-mechanics and metallurgy industries.

But this was only a beginning, Zeng said, noting that "Northeast China and Germany have great potential in economic co-operation."

In May, during Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Germany, the two sides signed a memorandum for scientific and technological co-operation to revitalize the old iron belt.

Zeng also said the region holds an important strategic position in the process of China's modernization.

Schroeder is the first head of a western developed country's government to visit Jilin Province since the reform and opening-up.

Germany is an important trade partner of the province. Its import volume in Jilin was up to US$ 2.6 billion last year, an increase of 3.3 times compared with that of 2000, the host of the symposium acting Governor of Jilin Wang Min said.

He said he also hopes to promote co-operation in five sectors such as the car and chemical industries as a result of Schroeder's visit.

Schroeder compared the task China faces in the Northeast to the situation that Germany faced 15 years ago in his speech.

In his opinion, the difference between the two lies in scale.

Since there is less chance and ability of arousing financial support from other areas for Northeast China to match that of Germany, therefore the three provinces must make full use of the present resources. Schroeder also noted areas of experience in Germany's economic reform that could be shared with the Chinese effort, including scientific research and embracing high-quality personnel.

He also said attention must be paid to improving infrastructure, including communications, roads and services.

"For example, we have set up the most advanced communication apparatus in the world in the eastern area of Germany,"Schroeder said.

"Large, medium, and small sized enterprises are welcome to invest and co-operate in China. We also welcome German enterprises participate in China's Stated-owned enterprises reform in the form of managing with stocks," Vice-Premier Zeng Peiyan said.

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