China has announced a special line of credit worth $10 billion to fund infrastructure, technology and environmental projects in central and eastern Europe, one its fastest-growing trade partners.
Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao on Thursday said his government plans to set up a $10 billion (7.6 billion euro) special line of credit for central and eastern European countries as his trip to Europe comes to an end.
Speaking to thousands of delegates at the China-Central Europe economic forum in Warsaw, Wen said the credit line was "to boost practical cooperation with central and east European countries."
The investment projects are to include "a certain amount of concessional loans to support cooperation projects in infrastructure, high and new technologies and green economy."
Wen pointed to the dramatic rise in trade between China and central and eastern Europe in the past decade, growing at an average annual rate of 27.6 percent and reaching $52.9 billion in 2011. He said he hopes to see bilateral trade hit $100 billion by 2015.
Beijing sees opportunity
China is flush with cash and is seen as eager to invest more in stable ex-Communist countries like Poland. The Europe Union is the biggest importer of Chinese goods and services.
The Chinese premier began his tour of Europe in Iceland and made stops in Germany and Sweden before arriving in Poland. Thursday's forum in Warsaw hosted 300 Chinese companies and 450 firms from across the region. Wen was scheduled to meet with 16 prime ministers from the region later in the day.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso spoke with Wen on the phone Thursday, releasing a statement saying China had restated its commitment to supporting Europe amid the debt crisis.
acb/sms (AFP, Reuters)