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March 23, 2023

PM Ponta: “We look forward to more pragmatic cooperation with China”

Prime Minister Victor Ponta, who was on a visit to China this summer, said that based on the traditional friendship between Romania and China, he is looking forward to more practical cooperation in economics and trade. Ponta made the remarks while addressing individuals at the Local Leader’s Meeting of China and Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC). PM Ponta also stated that enhancing the deep political, economic and local ties with Romania and other CEE countries is an excellent policy course by China.
Ponta was leading the Romanian delegation to Chongqing participating in the CEEC Local Leader’s Meeting, revealing the high value that the Romanian government places on the cooperation mechanism with China. Next year there will be the 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Victor Ponta said Romania used to be and will always be a friend of China in Europe and added that the countries expect to see increased cooperation in the fields of economics, energy and infrastructure. “I visited some of the Chinese enterprises which have launched investment programs in Romania. I hope to seek out more cooperation opportunities in fields of economics, energy and infrastructure and through these opportunities strengthen the cultural and educational exchanges between Romania and China.”
Nonetheless, PM Ponta proposed a strategic partnership to the Chinese leadership in an effort to boost economic ties with the world’s second largest economy. The PM discussed with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang the means of attracting additional investments – mainly in the energy sector – and increasing Romanian exports. Ponta also met President Xi Jinping and explored the possibility of enhancing the countries’ political ties. “We proposed during talks with the (e.n. Chinese) president and the PM raising relations between Romania and China to the highest level, of a strategic partnership. We have this partnership with only a few countries and we wish, as next year we reach 65 years of diplomatic relations, to have a strategic partnership with China,” said Ponta. In 2011, Romania closed a similar partnership with the US, which covers a wide array of fields ranging from military cooperation to technology transfer and education.
A partnership involves major financial stakes as the government is trying to tempt Chinese investors to finance and build major generation projects in the energy sector such as two nuclear reactors in Cernavoda and the hydroelectric pumped-storage project Tarnita Lapustesti, which have a combined price tag of over EUR 7 billion. Chinese firms were also invited to build a submarine cable through to Turkey, allowing Romania to export additional electricity.
Energy experts say these projects are crucial to securing Romania’s future power supply, and the authorities have unsuccessfully attempted to attract investors either from Western Europe or China over the past few years. Under a proposal by the PM, Chinese companies would be allowed to hold the majority stake in the large projects they built locally.
During the same visit, Dan Sova, the delegate-minister for large infrastructure projects and foreign investment, signed a memorandum of understanding with China Development Bank.

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