Remarks by Premier Wen Jiabao at Joint Press Conference with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso
Friends from the press,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good afternoon. I am very pleased to meet you with President Barroso. Let me once again extend a warm welcome to President Barroso, High Representative Ashton and the EU commissioners.
This is the first high-level meeting between China and the EU since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty and the formation of the new European Commission. It is also a continuation of the previous dialogues between Chinese and EU leaders. The two sides had a candid and in-depth exchange of views on China-EU relations and major international issues, and reached broad consensus.
I wish to stress the following points:
First, we face valuable opportunities for enhancing China-EU strategic cooperation. China and the EU established the comprehensive strategic partnership in 2003. This historic decision has a significant and profound impact on our joint response to the international financial crisis and global challenges. There is no conflict of fundamental interests or unsettled major historical issues between China and the EU. We both stand for world multipolarity and cultural diversity. We both believe that decisions for major international affairs should be made in a democratic, open and transparent manner. And we both believe it is important to strengthen the role of the United Nations, increase the representation of developing countries in major international institutions, support free trade and more stringent international financial supervision and regulation, and advance international cooperation on climate change. China and the EU have far more consensus than differences in improving global governance. We should continue to view our common interests from a strategic perspective, strengthen coordination and collaboration and work together to build a new international political and economic order.
Second, we should enhance mutual understanding, trust and support. China has made considerable progress in the course of reform and opening-up. And China’s overall strength and international standing have significantly risen. That being said, the Chinese government and leaders are keenly aware of the problems and challenges China faces. We are firmly committed to reform and opening-up and the path of peaceful development. We have full confidence in the future of China and the Chinese nation. China will undertake greater international responsibilities. This not only meets the expectations of the international community, but also serves China’s own interests.
History tells us that when pursuing a great cause, we could never expect a smooth sail or reach the destination overnight. That is how we see our own development. That is also how we see the development of the European Union. China firmly supports the efforts of European countries for self-enhancement through unity, and has never interfered in the EU’s internal affairs. We believe Europe is an independent pole in the world and a strong EU can play a more positive role in promoting world peace and development. No matter how the international landscape may evolve, China and the EU should always join hands and forge ahead like passengers in the same boat. And we should strengthen cultural, youth and media exchanges to consolidate the popular basis for China-EU relations.
Third, we should expand practical cooperation in all fields. Although the international financial crisis has seriously affected our economies, the advantage of our cooperation has not changed and there is still much potential. Both China and Europe are making active adjustments to development strategies, with greater focus on balanced socio-economic development, scientific innovation and sustainable development. This has opened up broader prospects for our bilateral cooperation. China-EU cooperation should be anchored on economic cooperation and trade and driven by high-tech cooperation. We should take green economy as a priority in our cooperation and bring into full play the primary role of enterprises and the steering role of the market.
China and the EU should make joint efforts to achieve the overall balance and sustainable growth of the bilateral trade. China will continue to send trade and investment promotion missions to EU countries and increase imports from Europe. We will also consider setting up a special fund to encourage SME cooperation between the two sides.
The EU should recognize China’s full market economy status as soon as possible so that Chinese enterprises can receive fair treatment in competition. We hope that the EU will simplify visa procedures for Chinese businessmen, enable equivalence of our public audit oversight systems, remove various barriers and provide a more appealing environment and conditions for Chinese enterprises to expand trade with and investment in Europe.
I have taken note of the remarks on China’s investment environment made by some foreign entrepreneurs in China. To enhance communication with them, I proposed to President Barroso for a joint meeting with representatives of the European entrepreneurs in China after the press conference. Here I want to say that the Chinese government will unswervingly pursue the opening-up policy and endeavor to create a market environment of fair competition for all market players, foreign and Chinese enterprises alike. China is now seriously and actively engaged in negotiations for China’s accession to the Government Procurement Agreement of the World Trade Organization. We treat Chinese and foreign enterprises and their products as equals in procurement and construction projects involving government funds in an open and transparent way. The policy of encouraging indigenous innovation provides the same treatment for all enterprises that operate on Chinese soil, and foreign enterprises will not be excluded. The Chinese government will further increase the transparency of decision making, regulate administrative conducts and provide timely information on development plans, industry policies, access standards and industry development. We welcome foreign enterprises to take part in China’s reform and opening-up process, run businesses according to law and share the opportunities and fruits of China’s economic development.
Fourth, the international community should undertake joint responsibilities and consolidate the momentum of world economic recovery. Although the impact of the international financial crisis is waning and the world economy and trade are picking up, we still need to make unremitting efforts for a fairly long time to come if we are to truly prevail over this crisis. In particular, we should improve governance, addressing the root causes of the crisis, and stand firm against trade protectionism in various forms. China stands ready to strengthen communication and coordination with the EU on major international economic and financial issues within the G20 and other major multilateral institutions.
Fifth, climate change concerns the destiny of all mankind, China’s interests included. By actively participating in the Copenhagen climate change conference, China has demonstrated to the world its firm commitment to and concrete actions for advancing international cooperation on climate change. We understand that the EU and the international community pay much attention to China’s energy conservation and emission reduction efforts. What I want to stress is that China will honor its words with result-oriented actions. No matter how difficult the task is, we will endeavor to meet our voluntary target for controlling greenhouse gas emissions. We want to work with the EU to push for progress in the relevant negotiations on the basis of adhering to the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities”.
Sixth, China is committed to upholding the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and peace and stability in the Middle East. China will maintain communication with other relevant parties with a responsible and constructive attitude and play a positive role for the early and proper settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I said at the outset of this meeting that we should aim to sketch out a clearer and more substantive blueprint for the future of China-EU relations. Thanks to the concerted efforts of both sides, we have achieved the set objective, and laid a solid foundation for the 13th China-EU Summit to be held in Europe in the latter half of this year. I look forward to meeting you then. Thank you.