China and Belgium vow deeper economic cooperation

World Today

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, left, and Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel pose for a handshake photo during Keqiang’s visit to Belgium in Brussels, Brussels, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

China and Belgium are vowing to deepen economic cooperation.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s met with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel.

Li is in Brussels to attend a meeting of European Union and Asian leaders over the next couple of days.

CGTN’s Jack Parrock reports.

Using his visit to Belgium to signal a willingness to boost bilateral trade.

“We are also willing to push forward cooperation with the EU and Europe, on the basis of cooperation with Belgium. We covered the China-EU investment protection agreement. We have agreed to push forward BIT negotiations with Europe. It is beneficial to further the opening up process between the two sides, to free and fair trade, to investment facilitation. This is our contribution to the rules-based international order,” said Li Keqiang the Chinese Premier.

Between 2014 and 2016 though combined trade dropped by over $5 billion to around $21.5 billion.

Premier Li’s visit comes off the back of a trip to the Netherlands where he and the Dutch prime Minster Mark Rutte made similar promises to deepen economic cooperation.

“If China really wants to maintain a close relationship with Europe, it will also need to show that it is taking steps to avoid discriminating European companies, of opening more the market to European business. And if China is really willing to play the role in the future of the world trade system, also China needs to put on the table some proposals,” Luisa Santos the Director of International Relation at Business Europe said.

Leaders from across Asia are all descending on Brussels for a summit with their European counterparts. No less than 51 of them will be holding two days of meetings here.