PM Ponta: Long-standing relations with China – a facilitator for joint agriculture, energy, infrastructure projects
Chinese PM Li Keqiang expressed his conviction that Ponta’s visit to China is important for promoting China-Europe relations.
The exceptional political relations between China and Romania, the two states’ 65-year long tradition of diplomatic and political relations, allow us to consider major economic projects, especially in agriculture, energy and infrastructure, Premier Victor Ponta told the economic meeting in Beijing that gathered representatives of the major Chinese companies and banks that run business in Romania or plan to invest here.
“I am in China for the second consecutive year. This time, accompanied by members of the Romanian Government, because beyond the exceptional political relationship between the People’s Republic of China and Romania, we want to develop – with your help – the economic relationship between the two countries. Not only is Romania the seventh country in the EU 28 in terms of population, but it also holds a strategic position on the eastern border of the European Union, having Constanta, the largest Black Sea port, as an asset, since this could be the hub that could concentrate a substantial part of our trade relations with China. Just as I said at the meeting in Bucharest with Prime Minister Li Keqiang, Romania wants to be the most important gateway to the European Union for Europe – China commercial exchanges,” the Romanian Prime Minister explained.
Ponta said that in economic terms, Romania had in 2013 the highest economic growth of all EU countries. “I know that an increase of 3.5 percent is not impressive to China, that sets itself at least a double target every year, but it is important that this growth also relied on the development of Romania’s relations with China,” the Premier said.
Victor Ponta stressed that the main strategic directions of economic development and the areas where joint projects can be developed with Chinese companies are agriculture, energy and transport.
“First of all, Romania has an extremely important agricultural potential. Last year we started together with the Chinese Government all the necessary agreements for opening the Chinese market to Romanian agricultural products and allow the import of Romanian pork and live cattle; we placed special emphasis on the development of organic agriculture, of biological farming, where Romania already represents an internationally acknowledged brand. We want to develop this relationship in the line of farming products and as a strategic approach, we consider attracting investments to Romania’s production and processing sector, so that Romania becomes one of the suppliers of best quality agricultural products for the Chinese market,” said the Romanian PM.
He added that Romania has also outlined its internal development strategic directions for energy and infrastructure, mentioning that Chinese companies can be major partners for Romania.
“Energy in the first place. The biggest challenge, the most important goal for Romania, Europe and – I think – for China as well, is to secure energy independence, specifically the capacity to have enough energy at competitive prices. Romania is the European country with a complete range of energy resources: nuclear energy – and we want to develop the relevant capabilities by cooperating with Chinese companies; hydropower – that provides a quarter of the national energy output; coal resources, steam power plants, where we have significant resources, but require investments in re-engineering and environmental protection; and renewable energy, where Chinese companies are already present with wind energy capacities. Talks in this respect are in an advanced stage between the Romanian Ministry of Economy and Chinese companies. Besides, the minister of Economy Constantin Nita announced that during this visit we will sign an important contract for the upgrading coal-fired power capacities. And I want to assert the support of both the Government of Romania and the Government of China for the cooperation between Chinese and Romanian companies in all these four areas of energy-generation,” Ponta added.
The Romanian Prime Minister pointed out that developing its infrastructure network is essential to Romania.
“Last year in Bucharest we discussed with Prime Minister Li Keqiang Romania’s desire to develop together with Chinese companies a first high speed rail project and also get Chinese companies involved in road infrastructure projects. These projects must be developed in compliance with the EU existing procedures and European quality standards, but I am sure that Chinese companies have already proven their capacity to meet these standards and develop together with Romanian partners large infrastructure projects,” said Ponta.
At the end of his speech, the Romanian PM also mentioned the project for the development of five technology parks in Romania. “The Economy Minister says there are six of them. I want to see the first five completed, we can proceed with the sixth afterwards,” Ponta concluded.
Attending the economic forum alongside the Romanian Prime Minister were Deputy Prime Ministers Liviu Dragnea and Daniel Constantin, as well as Ministers Ioan Rus (Transports) and Constantin Nita. Romania’s Development Minister Liviu Dragnea then said the time of prospecting for economic and commercial ties starts finalising with actual projects benefiting both countries. He added that there is real cooperation potential between Romania and China in areas such as energy, agriculture, transport and livestock export to China.
China’s PM outlines the role played by PM Ponta
Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta was welcomed to China by the Chinese PM Li Keqiang during an official ceremony with military honours held in Tiananmen Square outside the Building of the Great Hall of the People.
During the ceremony, the Romanian and Chinese national anthems were played, the two senior officials walked past a guard of honour and a gun salute was shot in honour of the Romanian guest.
Ponta and Li then had talks with the Romanian and Chinese official delegations also attending. “The bilateral activities, including last year’s visit paid by the Chinese premier to Romania play an important role in the bilateral relations for the promotion of the collaboration between China and the CEE (Central and Eastern Europe) countries, between China and Europe. I am convinced your visit today will play an important role in the promotion of the Chinese-European relations and at the same time in the promotion of the relations between China and the CEE,” Li stressed.
Ponta, in turn, thanked for the invitation and for the warm reception he was given in China.
“It is a great joy and a great honour to see each other less than a year since your official visit to Romania. That visit to Bucharest on the occasion of the China-Central and Eastern Europe Summit enjoyed extraordinary success and resounded throughout all the countries in the region. (…) We have a special reason for joy between Romania and China. This year we celebrate the 65th anniversary since the establishment of diplomatic ties between our two countries and I may say these are 65 years of extraordinary friendship and collaboration,” the Romanian head of government underscored.
He recalled that he had visited China ten years ago as part of a youth official delegation on the occasion of the 55th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Bucharest and Beijing.