Trade issues top agenda for Xi’s historic Belgium visit

By Li Aixin Source:Global Times Published: 2014-3-31 1:23:01

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Brussels Sunday for a state visit, the first made by a Chinese head of the State to the country in 27 years. Economic issues are likely to dominate during the visit, analysts said.

During his three-day visit, Xi is scheduled to meet King Philippe, hold talks with the Belgian prime minister and parliamentary leaders, and visit a Chinese-owned company.

Xi said that he hopes to have an in-depth exchange of views with Belgian leaders and extensive contacts with people from all walks of life, so as to enhance mutual understanding and friendship, elevate bilateral relations and chart the course for future development.

The two countries are expected to sign cooperation agreements covering economy and trade, science and technology, telecommunications and education.

"Promoting bilateral trade relations should be a focus of Xi's stay in Belgium," said Hu Ronghua, a vice director of the European Studies Center at Fudan University, adding that there is a lot of room for cooperation in areas such as tourism.

Bilateral trade has grown by more than 1,000 times, making Belgium China's sixth largest trading partner in the European Union.

Mutual investment has also increased in recent years. China's direct investment in Belgium raised nearly 10 fold over the past five years.

The former Belgian secretary of state for finance Herman Van Rompuy is the current European Council President. Xi's visit also showed China sees the importance of Belgium in the EU, Hu said.

The Belgian newspaper Le Soir Saturday published an article with Xi's byline, noting the importance to China of having Belgium as an EU partner.

During his stay, Xi will also visit the EU headquarters, becoming the first Chinese top leader to visit there since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1975.

Xinhua contributed to this story

Posted in: Diplomacy, Europe

blog comments powered by Disqus