China’s President Xi Jinping on Tuesday said his country is planning to import over $170b of goods from Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC) over the next five years to double farm product imports.

Speaking at a virtual summit with CEEC countries focusing on trade and climate change, Xi said, “17 plus 1 could make more than 18,” Xinhua reported.

China is aiming for a 50% increase in bilateral agricultural trade, he said.
The CEEC includes Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, the Republic of North Macedonia, Lithuania, Kosovo, Serbia and Montenegro.

“China-CEEC cooperation is based on mutual respect and has no political strings attached,” Xi said.

He said all countries “involved, regardless of their size, are equal partners in a cooperation mechanism featuring extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits.”

“Guided by the conviction that ’17 plus 1 could make more than 18,’ we have set up a multi-dimensional cooperation framework led by the leaders’ summit and covering 20-plus sectors to ensure the participation of all CEE [CEEC] countries,” he added.

Xi called for expanding cooperation with CEEC countries, including the digital economy, e-commerce, and healthcare fields.

He also urged that China-CEE countries jointly implement the Paris Agreement “to cope with climate change and deepen exchange and cooperation in areas including green economy and clean energy.”

“Mindful of each other’s concerns, we have drawn up plans and decided on projects based on the national realities of each country and encouraged all countries to find the best way to leverage their respective strengths in cooperation,” said Xi.

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