China courts Europe investment as trade battle with U.S. intensifies

  • China courts Europe investment as trade battle with U.S. intensifies

China courts Europe investment as trade battle with U.S. intensifies

During the week-long trip, the Premier will attend the 7th summit of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) countries and China in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia.

China has promised billions of dollars for development projects in the region as part of its Belt and Road strategy to carve out new export markets.

Hours before Washington's deadline for the tariffs was to take effect, U.S. President Donald Trump upped the ante, warning that the United States may ultimately target over $500 billion worth of Chinese goods, or roughly the total amount of U.S. imports from China previous year.

Chinese investment in Germany equals only one tenth of German investment in China, less than 0.3 percent of total foreign investment in Germany, and is incomparable with German investment in China in terms of quality, he noted.

The escalating fight between the United States and China meant that it could "take economic and political pain to get these two parties to the (negotiating) table", said Professor Scott Kennedy at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang pose for a picture during the 7th Summit of Heads of Government of CEEC and China in Sofia, Bulgaria, July 7, 2018.

China's efforts to increase its economic and financial influence in the European Union, which include the financing and construction of new roads, rail lines and ports, have been met with concern by Brussels.

China's commerce ministry, in a statement shortly after the USA deadline passed at 0401 GMT Friday, said that it was forced to retaliate.

China will never start a trade war.

While U.S. President Donald Trump frequently has criticized the European Union on trade and security issues and the two powers are in the middle of their own tariff battles, Li was very complimentary of the EU.

"The EU is a very important force for peace and stability and prosperity".

In a world of growing uncertainties, China and Europe see their interests aligned.

On how to further push the mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Germany in the future, Shi believed the two sides should promote pragmatic cooperation in at least three areas - in further opening up to each other, strengthening cooperation in science and technology, and exploring new areas of cooperation. "From now on, we begin carrying out transparent procedures on hybrid projects with the World Bank and EBRD, so that Europe can be calm", Borisov said.

China and some of the 16 countries at the summit signed memorandums and agreements on economic cooperation and other issues.

"First and foremost, our cooperation is of win-win and mutual benefit", Li insisted.