China and Spain Sign Business Deals Worth US$3.8 Billion
SHANGHAI – Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy have signed business deals worth approximately US$3.8 billion in a bid to boost bilateral cooperation and economic growth.
On September 25, 14 agreements were signed between the two parties at a ceremony in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, covering cooperation in areas including the film industry, nuclear power, telecommunications, finance, wind power, sea water desalination and tourism. Rajoy further urged that the two sides strengthen cooperation in the food and consumer industries, adding that few countries offer such a good investment environment as Spain with its open and competitive market.
Companies which attended the meeting included Spain’s largest bank, Banco Santander (SAN.MC), Zara and Chinese e-commerce magnate Alibaba Group Holding (BABA.N). Among the attendees, Huawei, the world largest telecommunication equipment maker, signed a cooperation agreement with Spanish telecommunications juggernaut Telefonic. Four of the 14 deals were signed in the field of energy, including a contract to supply China with nuclear safety products.
Li stated that the Chinese government attaches great importance to its relations with Spain and urged the two sides to continue expanding bilateral trade and accelerate growth. He also mentioned that the two countries should strengthen cooperation in areas such as energy, finance, biological medicine and the aerospace industry.
Chinese companies are highly encouraged to invest in Spain, Li said, and he recommended that Spain provide more legal and policy guarantees, as well as visa measures, to promote this. Speaking on E.U.-China relations, Li clarified that China will continue working together with Spain to implement the China-E.U. 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation.
Rajoy’s visit, aimed at attracting Chinese investment into Spain, makes him the most recent European leader to visit China. The Spanish economy is now back on track after the eurozone crisis and grew at its fastest pace in six years in the second quarter of 2014, making the country one of the few recent economic success stories in the eurozone. Rajoy announced that Chinese tourists are welcome in Spain and will be able to complete visa procedures within 48 hours.
Despite slow recovery in the world economy following the 2009 financial crisis, economic relations between China and Spain are booming. According to official data, China is the biggest trading partner of Spain outside of the E.U. In 2013, bilateral trade totaled US$24.9 billion with a 1.4 percent growth rate; and in 2014, from January to July, this had reached US$15.8 billion, growing at a rate of 14 percent. For the year of 2014, foreign direct investment from Spain into China amounted to nearly US$167 as of August, according to CapitalVue.
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