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Deals take Sino-Czech relations to a new high
(China Daily)
Updated: 2005-12-09 06:05

PRAGUE: China and the Czech Republic yesterday issued a joint declaration calling for a strengthening of political dialogue and economic co-operation on the first day of Premier Wen Jiabao's visit.

In the document, the two sides agreed to deepen mutual trust and expand bilateral co-operation in order to push bilateral relations to a new high.

While highlighting promotion of investments, the bilateral accord represented an improvement in the protection of Czech investors in China, Czech Finance Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said yesterday.

The document was one of 11 agreements signed following one-hour talks between Wen and his Czech counterpart Jiri Paroubek. The talks focused on economic issues as well as China's relations with the European Union, which Prague joined in 2004.

The accords signed yesterday in the presence of both leaders covered agriculture, forestry, automobile and television manufacturing, social security, telecommunications and machinery.

In line with one of the deals, Czech car maker Skoda Auto will conduct all-around strategic co-operation with Shanghai Volkswagen.

Last April, the two groups inked a deal to start producing the Octavia model of Skoda Auto in China in 2007.

These bilateral co-operation agreements are expected to push forward bilateral trade, which reached nearly US$1.8 billion last year. So far, Czech investors have funded more than 300 projects in China, with actual investment of US$103 million.

A meeting between Wen and Czech businessmen was scheduled for Thursday evening local time, together with a presentation of Czech car producer Skoda Auto's Octavia model.

He is due to meet with Czech President Vaclav Klaus, Senate President Premysl Sobltka and President of Chamber of Deputies Lubomir Zaoralek today. Wen flew here yesterday afternoon for a two-day visit, the first one by a Chinese premier since its independence in 1993.

(China Daily 12/09/2005 page2)

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