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Zhao Shengnan, Fu Jing, Zhang Chunyan
Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014

Asia

Li Keqiang eyes closer economic ties on Europe trip

China Daily/ANN | Zhao Shengnan, Fu Jing, Zhang Chunyan | Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

Premier Li Keqiang will visit Britain and Greece next week on another European tour that officials and experts say will yield closer economic ties between China and the two countries as well as China and Europe overall.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Tuesday that Li, who will be away on the visits from Monday to June 21, will attend an annual meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Cameron's spokesman said on Tuesday that Cameron will meet with Li at 10 Downing Street next Tuesday to discuss "a wide range of bilateral issues, including trade, investment and commercial opportunities and the energy and cultural side".

Zhao Junjie, an expert on European studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said China is one of the top choices for Britain and Greece for cooperation on their economic revival.

"Under the shadow of a declining economy and a lingering European debt crisis, Britain has to turn to overseas cooperation to better address a slew of domestic problems. China, an emerging economy, naturally becomes one of its ideal partners," Zhao said.

Zhao highlighted the huge cooperation potential for the two countries in fields such as finance, maritime development, environmental protection and ecological urbanization.

"China has the investment money as well as low labour and logistics costs; Britain has the technologies and experience; and Greece has a strategic location and infrastructure that needs improvement. It's highly complementary cooperation," he said.

Former Greek government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said Li and Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will discuss Chinese businesses' participation in privatization plans for the port of Piraeus and Athens International Airport, two leading projects in which Chinese investors have shown a keen interest.

"I think the two leaders will be discussing these projects while they sort out ways to make it easier for Chinese to do businesses in Greece," he told China Daily.

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