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China, Austria sign five official pacts
By Sun Shangwu (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-04-20 23:49

China and Austria signed five agreements yesterday in Beijing to advance relations between the two countries.

Premier Wen Jiabao (L) shakes hands with visiting Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing April 20, 2005. [Reuters]

Premier Wen Jiabao and visiting Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel witnessed the signing of the agreements following one-hour official talks.

The documents included bilateral co-operation in animal quarantine and animal health, the exchange of letters concerning reciprocal exemption from taxation on revenues arising from international air transport enterprises and a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on promoting mutual investment. China and Austria established diplomatic ties in 1971.

The Hainan Airline Group of China also signed an MOU with the Salzburg Economic Chamber on co-operation in tourism education and research.

The local government of Binjiang District in Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province signed an investment MOU with Austria's Porsche Holding company.

During talks, Wen raised a three-point proposal to further bilateral ties, including the keeping of high-level contacts, encouraging Austrian companies to make investment in China and increasing exchanges in sectors of culture, education, science and technology.

Schuessel arrived in Beijing on Tuesday night to start a seven-day official visit to China.

On China's relations with Europe, Wen told Schuessel that the European Union is both a full strategic partner and China's largest trade partner.

He expressed appreciation for Austria's "positive attitude" on the lifting of the EU's arms embargo on China.

Schuessel said the economies of the two countries are strongly complementary and Austria is willing to help further the relationship between China and Europe.

Austria will take the rotating EU presidency in January 2006.

The two leaders also talked about the Taiwan issue and Austrian support for China's reunification efforts.

Besides Wen, Schuessel also met Vice-President Zeng Qinghong yesterday. Schuessel yesterday visited Peking University where he delivered a speech on the role of Austria in Europe and relations between Austria and China.

Trade between the two sides rose to more than 3 billion euros (US$3.87 billion) in 2004.

(China Daily 04/21/2005 page2)

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