BEIJING - China's vice minister of commerce described the steady development of Sino-EU economic and trade relations as the main engine for the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and the European Union, and it has brought real benefits to the people of both sides.
Over the years, bilateral economic and trade cooperation has expanded from goods trade to investment, technological cooperation, service trade, intellectual property rights protection, innovation as well as research and development, Vice Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan wrote in a signed article to be published Thursday by the People's Daily, the flagship newspaper of China's Communist Party.
For many years, the EU has been China's largest trading partner, export market and source of technology, while China is currently the EU's second-biggest trading partner and major import market, Zhong wrote.
Data showed that Sino-EU trade surged 18.3 percent year on year in 2011 to an historic high of $567.2 billion.
Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday also called for efforts to further improve Sino-EU ties upon his arrival in Brussels, where he is set to pay official visits to Belgium and the EU headquarters.
Zhong wrote in his article that the vice premier's visit to the EU headquarters has come at an appropriate time, which is significant in further promoting China-EU relations and expanding practical cooperation.
Li's visit will also give a clear direction for Sino-EU economic and trade cooperation, Zhong wrote.
He wrote that China, a fast-growing developing country, and the EU, the world's largest developed economic entity, are complementary rather than competitive in many areas, including natural resources, labor, capital and technology.
Zhong also wrote that China and the EU are more partners than rivals in pursuing self-development amid global challenges.
He urged the two sides to share development opportunities, enhance dialogues, address each other's concerns and push forward cooperation in key areas such as China expanding imports from the EU.
He also called on the two sides to take concrete steps in opposing all forms of trade protectionism and promoting the liberalization of trade and investment.