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Nation, Austria likely to sign 3 deals
By Qin Jize (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-04-18 05:47

Austrian Federal Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel will arrive in China tomorrow to begin a seven-day official visit.

It will be Schuessel's first visit to the country as the head of the government after assuming the post in 2000.

The Austrian Ambassador to China, Hans Dietmar Schweisgut, revealed that three official agreements are expected to be signed during the chancellor's visit to Beijing.

The agreements involve veterinary control for the import and export of meat products, judicial co-operation and a taxation scheme, which is hoped will resolve the double taxation problem.

"In addition to the official accords, we are expecting companies to sign business protocols in the presence of the two leaders," said the ambassador.

He said relations between the two countries have changed significantly in recent years due to China's increasingly outward approach.

"Now that China has become our largest trading partner in Asia, we are seeing more Chinese investment in the country," he said, adding that a joint Chinese-Austrian technology park is being planned for Vienna, capital of Austria.

"It is not only a research institution, but a place where Chinese companies can settle down and do business," he said.

The chancellor brings with him a 150-strong delegation, including 100 business people, expected to help create economic and political opportunities.

The ambassador said the chancellor will open a business event called "Showcase Austria" at Beijing Hotel on Thursday.

The event, focusing on environmental technology, energy saving, transportation and the renovation of traditional industries, is a signal of Austrian entrepreneurs' interest in the Chinese market and desire to broaden trade links with the country.

According to the embassy's statistics, a recently concluded investment agreement concerning Austrian investment in China amounted to 150 million euros (US$190 million), part of which will be finalized during the chancellor's visit.

The ambassador also said he encouraged Chinese to visit his country.

He said 190,000 Chinese visited Austria last year and "we are expecting more as the Chinese tourism market is growing very fast."

The Austrian ambassador said the chancellor would also participate in the Boao Forum of Asia, to be held in South China's Hainan Province on Saturday, where he will give a speech on China-EU relations.

"The focus will be on relations between the two sides as the chancellor will assume the EU rotating presidency next year," said Schweisgut.

Apart from economic co-operation, cultural exchanges will also be highlighted during the chancellor's visit.

The largest exhibition of modern Austrian painting ever to be staged in China will open in Shanghai on Friday. It will then tour to Beijing, Guangzhou and Xi'an.

(China Daily 04/18/2005 page2)

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