Chinese Premier and Dutch PM take steps to bolster bilateral trade

World Today

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte gets up as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang proposes a toast during luncheon in The Hague, Netherlands, Monday, Oct. 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang kicked-off his official visit to the Netherlands by meeting Prime Minister Mark Rutte. Increasing free trade and boosting bilateral cooperation topped the agenda.

CGTN’s Mariam Zaidi filed this report from the Hague.

Follow Mariam Zaidi on Twitter @zaidi_mariam

The Netherlands and China have pledged to ink deals to the tune of $10 billion in a hope to ratchet up commerce and trade between Dutch and Chinese companies.

This is the first official visit of a Chinese Premier in 14 years to the Netherlands. Relations between the two countries have been on the upswing since Chinese President Xi Jinping made a state visit to the Netherlands in 2014.

On Monday morning, Premier Li arrived at the Binnenhof, the official seat of the Dutch parliament, and was greeted by Dutch Prime Minister. The two sides held bilateral meetings, promising to open up further cooperation in agriculture, the service industry, and manufacturing.

During their joint press conference, Premier Li called Netherlands a portal to Europe and promised that China would make a bigger effort to open domestic markets to Dutch investment. Both Premier Li and Prime Minister Rutte said multilateralism and free trade must be upheld.

“We are living at a time of complex shifting dynamics in the political and economic landscapes, with growing uncertainties, and we need to show wisdom and form a joint effort in upholding multilateralism and free trade,” Premier Li said. 

The hope is that China can use the visit to boost trade with the European bloc as a whole, particularly in the face of increasingly, strained relations with the United States.

On Tuesday, Premier Li will participate in the China-Dutch Business Forum that’s focused on high-tech innovation. Some 150 Chinese companies, along with hundreds of Dutch entrepreneurs, will be showcasing their products there. The two sides are expected to sign a series of agreements on energy, finance, and aviation.

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