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On Eurasian trip, Li calls for safeguarding free trade

Enlarged font  Narrow font Release date:2018-10-23  Source:china daily  Browse number:9570
Note: Nations must commit to bolstering open world economy, premier saysAs economic globalization continues to lose momentum a

Nations must commit to bolstering open world economy, premier says

As economic globalization continues to lose momentum and protectionism and unilateralism rise, Premier Li Keqiang's Eurasian trip has presented China's answer on how to steer the global economy out of difficulties through concerted efforts and closer cooperation.

From the Tajik capital Dushanbe, in central Eurasia, to the European Union's headquarters in Brussels, Li often called for joint efforts to protect multilateralism, a rules-based international order and free trade during his nine-day trip, which concluded on Saturday.

Addressing the two-day 12th Asia-Europe Meeting Summit in Brussels, he said that amid the complicated circumstances, Eurasia should stay committed to building an open world economy, a view echoed by European leaders at the summit.

"It is important that both China and European countries have called for protecting free trade and multilateralism, as this points to a broad direction for China's cooperation with these countries," said Jin Ling, a European studies scholar at the China Institute of International Studies.

She said Li's trip came at a time when openness and cooperation were challenged by isolationism and confrontation. As the trade between Asian and European countries comprises 70 percent of global trade, a joint anchor of support for multilateralism is a strong answer to unilateralist and trade protectionist challenges.

Jin spoke highly of Li's often mentioning China's strong resolution for deepening reform, protecting intellectual property and providing equal treatment for investors from home and abroad, during his bilateral talks with leaders from European countries and while speaking at the China-Netherlands Businesses Forum 2018 in The Hague, Netherlands.

"Repeatedly expressing that stance in the Netherlands and Belgium shows that China aims to assure worldwide investors that we are making great efforts in creating and enabling the business environment and in protecting intellectual property," she said. "This will greatly help in laying a solid foundation for China to tap huge cooperation potential with European countries, particularly in innovation and high technology."

She said the four-point initiative Li raised in his address at the 12th ASEM Summit in Brussels was pragmatic, particularly in enhancing connectivity, cooperation and people-to-people exchanges.

"Developing interconnectivity between Asia and Europe is indispensable in providing better platforms for increasing trade cooperation between the two sides, and enhanced people-to-people and cultural ties will contribute greatly to mutual understanding and clear up misunderstanding," Jin said.

At the 17th meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, Li called on SCO members to launch feasibility studies on establishing an SCO free trade area.

Li Ziguo, a Eurasian studies scholar at the China Institute of International Studies, said this is also a specific step for SCO member countries to fulfill their commitment to upgrading multilateral cooperation by facilitating cooperation among countries.

Xinhua contributed to this story.

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