EU should remove barriers to investment: Official

Updated: 2011-10-15 07:23

By Fu Jing (China Daily)

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BRUSSELS - A senior official visiting Brussels said the Chinese public is concerned about the country buying European bonds and the EU should also consider more efforts to remove barriers on Chinese direct investment.

The official, in town to compare notes with European counterparts ahead of a number of upcoming events including a European summit, a meeting between the leaders of China and the European Union, and a G20 summit, said the increase in China's investment in Europe is far slower than in Africa and Latin America. He added that the investment could create jobs and aid economic growth in crisis-hit Europe.

"In fact, the potential is huge, especially when we talk about technology transfer and investment," said the official, who declined to give his name.

His message came as European leaders are busy with last-ditch efforts to prepare a comprehensive strategy to solve the deepening sovereign-debt crisis.

On Thursday, Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the European Council, held urgent talks with the Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and the Prime Minister of Luxembourg Jean-Claude Juncke, who is also president of the Eurogroup.

The Chinese official said Europe needs to readjust and welcome investment from the emerging economies. "They are used to investing in our market but when we come (to them), it seems that they are not really ready for it," said the official. "But this is the new global trend they have to face ... otherwise, they may lose the chance."

The official also said the West should also change its mode of consumption, which has seen it living beyond its means, a process which is vital for a final resolution of the crisis.

China will support Europe's efforts to solve the sovereign-debt crisis, the official said, but warned that the Chinese public is concerned about the risks of buying European debt and has grave doubts about it. "The public is quite confused as to why China, where large parts of the population are not well-off, should extend a helping hand to the rich countries," the official said.

On Thursday, a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Liu Weimin insisted that the EU should guarantee the safety of China's investment and assets in Europe. "We should stand with the EU and other partners to restore confidence and work towards a global economic recovery," said Liu.