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Closer ties forged with Spain

CHINA will take active steps to seek a balanced growth in bilateral trade with Spain as part of its efforts to promote all-around China-Spain cooperation, visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said on Friday.

China and Spain plan to increase bilateral trade volume to US$40 billion by 2011, Wen said at a meeting with his Spanish counterpart Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

To reach this objective, China will send a purchasing group to Spain to expand its product and equipment imports, said Wen, who is on an official visit to Spain.

During the meeting, the two sides pledged joint efforts to enhance comprehensive bilateral cooperation and exchanges.

They agreed to expand two-way investment, particularly in the areas of telecommunication, infrastructure construction, auto industry and logistics.

Cooperation between the two countries' small- and medium-sized enterprises is also encouraged, Wen said.

Joint statement

Relations between China and Spain are at their best with frequent high-level exchanges and close cooperation in a wide range of fields since the two countries set up a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2005, said a joint statement issued during Wen's visit.

The two sides pledged to enhance cooperation in science and technology, and to carry out joint research and development in such fields as renewable energy, ecological environment and recyclable economy.

"At present, China and Spain should join hands in tackling the financial crisis, and the primary task for us is to boost economic growth," said Wen.

The two countries will also encourage airline companies to launch more direct flights to promote tourism and economic exchanges.

In cultural areas China will support Spanish language education and other programs at the Spanish cultural center in Beijing, and will soon open a Chinese cultural center in Spain. Research and academic institutions and media organizations in the two countries will also enhance exchanges.

Wen and Zapatero attended a signing ceremony on cooperation in finance, aviation, energy and telecommunication.


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