Forging a Reliable Partnership for Win-win Cooperation
– Keynote Speech at the Sixth China-CEEC Business Forum
H.E. Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China
Riga, 5 November 2016
Your Excellency Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to join all friends, both old and new, at the Sixth China and Central and Eastern European Countries Business Forum in the beautiful city of Riga. On behalf of the Chinese government, I would like to extend warm congratulations on the opening of the Forum, and pay high tribute to people from various sectors who have long been committed to China-CEEC friendship and cooperation.
“16+1” cooperation is a creative framework of trans-regional cooperation initiated by China and CEE countries to advance our friendship and cooperation. It is also an important component of China-Europe cooperation and has injected new vigor into the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership. Thanks to the joint efforts of all parties, “16+1” cooperation is scoring new achievements and taking on a new look every year. Despite the sluggish global trade in recent years, the China-CEEC trade has kept growing, reaching $43 billion in the first three quarters of this year, up 4% year on year. Two-way investment and production capacity cooperation has gathered momentum. Chinese investment in CEE countries rose nearly 90% in the first nine months of this year, and cumulative two-way investment stands at $7 billion. A number of landmark projects have been completed. People-to-people and cultural exchanges are thriving. We have increased the number of direct air links to six and the number of annual mutual tourist visits to over one million.
Over the past five years, “16+1” cooperation has shown vibrant momentum and competitiveness. We accumulated much valuable experience in this process, which should be reaffirmed and upheld.
First, equality, mutual respect and mutual assistance. China and CEE countries both believe in equality among countries irrespective of their size, wealth or strength. We have all along extended each other understanding and support, respected each other’s independent choice of development path, and accommodated each other’s core interests and major concerns. Our cooperation has always been based on friendly consultation, rather than any party imposing its own will or attaching any political strings.
Second, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation. Cooperation that is based on common interests and geared towards common development is most stable and enduring. The “16+1” cooperation has all along been guided by the principle of government support, business initiative and market operation, rather than one side making all the concessions. Everyone should follow market rules and commercial principles and draw on their own strengths in funding, technology and market. They should all pitch in and complement each other, which will make the pie of common interests bigger and deliver win-win results.
Third, openness and inclusiveness. We have all along stressed that the “16+1” cooperation is a part of and useful complement to China-EU cooperation. China and the EU have reached important agreement on enhancing complementarity and synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and the development plans of Europe, between international production capacity cooperation and the Investment Plan for Europe, and between the “16+1” cooperation and China-EU cooperation. And we welcome project-based third party cooperation with countries outside the region. The “16+1” cooperation is an open and inclusive rather than exclusive platform, which is shown in the presence of more and more observers to our summit meetings. Time has shown and will continue to show that “16+1” cooperation not only serves China and CEE countries well, but is also conducive to the balanced development and integration of Europe.
Fourth, interconnected development, joint contribution and shared benefits. Every country has a role in “16+1” cooperation and is encouraged to tap its potential and make its own contribution, so that the whole will be greater than the sum of its parts. We all attach importance to enhancing the complementarity and synergy between our development strategies and plans, strengthening economic policy coordination, and advancing infrastructure connectivity. We endeavor to gear our cooperation to the real needs of each country, and make sure that plans can be quickly put into action, and projects be matched by financing. We have also actively explored innovative approaches, applied new modalities, opened up new areas, built new platforms, and produced new results.