Premier Li proposes China-CEEC demonstration zone in Ningbo

Updated:2017-11-29 (chinadaily.com.cn)

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Chinese Premier Li Keqiang attends and addresses the opening ceremony of the 7th China and Central and Eastern European Countries Economic and Trade Forum in Budapest, Hungary on Nov 27. [Photo by Ju Peng/Xinhua]

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang proposed the establishment of a demonstration zone for economic and trade cooperation in Ningbo, Zhejiang province during his address at the 7th China and the Central and Eastern European Countries Economic and Trade Forum in Budapest, Hungary on Nov 27.

Li said the demonstration zone, under the "16+1" cooperation format, will help further strengthen ties between China and the Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC) in areas such as trade and investment, and will provide a green channel for goods from Europe to be exported to China.

Li's proposal got a warm response from the attendees. After the meeting, a Budapest guideline was released confirming all parties' support for the establishment of the Ningbo demonstration zone. The document also said that Ningbo would continue to host the China-CEEC Ministerial Meeting on Promoting Trade and Economic Cooperation and China-CEEC Investment and Trade Expo in 2018.

Ningbo has been playing a major role in pushing forward cooperation with the CEEC in line with the Belt and Road Initiative, striving to build a big platform for China-CEEC exchanges and cooperation. Since 2014, the city has held the China-CEEC Investment and Trade Expo three times and the ministerial meeting twice. Today, Ningbo is working steadily to promote bilateral ties at higher levels.

The data from Ningbo Municipal Commission of Commerce shows that in 2016, the volume of imports and exports between Ningbo and CEEC reached $2.365 billion, a year-on-year increase of 5.9 percent, accounting for 4 percent of the total between China and CEEC. From this January to October, the volume had seen a year-on-year increase of 70.4 percent. Ningbo has become the most important portal for CEEC goods to enter the Chinese market.

An official from the city's commission of commerce said that in the future, Ningbo will give full play to its ties with CEEC and develop a group of projects to form new platforms for cooperation and to better serve the country's opening-up.

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