Business / Economy

China, the Netherlands seek closer co-op

By WU JIAO and FU JING in The Hague (China Daily) Updated: 2014-03-24 03:17

China, the Netherlands seek closer co-op

First lady Peng Liyuan blesses a new type of tulip in the presence of President Xi Jinping, Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Dutch Queen Maxima in Lisse on Sunday. [Photo/Xinhua]

China and the Netherlands seeking closer cooperation

A newly cultivated variety of tulip was named "Cathay" in the Netherlands on Sunday by Peng Liyuan, who is visiting the country with her husband President Xi Jinping.

After Peng poured champagne to bless the tulip, Dutch Queen Maxima offered it as a gift to China's first lady. Cathay is the old name of China in Holland, and is translated as guotai, meaning "prosperous country".

And prosperity is exactly what leaders of both countries are hoping for.

The countries decided on Sunday to build a partnership that stresses openness and pragmatism, according to a statement issued after Xi's meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Xi is on a state visit ahead of the two-day Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague that starts on Monday.

Xi said the Netherlands was one of the first Western countries to recognize New China and their cooperation has been at the forefront of China's cooperation with European countries.

The open and pragmatic partnership will contribute to the development of relations between China and Europe, Xi said.

He proposed that the countries maintain high-level exchanges and respect each others' core interests and major concerns, while emphasizing cooperation in areas including dairy, flood control, training of talent, food safety, and technological research and development.

"China welcomes the Netherlands expanding dairy exports," Xi said, adding the country embraces Dutch businesses seizing opportunities in a broad spectrum of areas in China.

They include energy-saving and environmental protection, new energy, urban sustainable development and financial services.

Xi said he hoped the Netherlands will facilitate China's investment and play a part in pushing the earlier completion of a Sino-Europe investment pact.

Rutte said his country will promote Sino-European collaboration within the EU, and said the Netherlands hopes to expand bilateral trade and two-way investment.

In addition, the Netherlands will open a consulate in Chongqing in Southwest China, he said.

On Sunday, Xi and Rutte witnessed the signing of several trade agreements, including cooperation in energy and dairy, and the launching of a Chinese cultural center in the Netherlands.

Xi also attended the opening ceremony of a trade and investment forum with Dutch King Willem-Alexander.

The king said the Netherlands admired China's feats and acknowledged the opportunities and challenges it faced in its development.

The king said he hoped the countries will expand mutually beneficial cooperation and become partners for common prosperity.

Also on Sunday, Xi and his wife had a private luncheon with the king and queen in the famous Keukenhof Castle.

The dairy trade pact is expected to bring Dutch expertise to help Chinese producers boost the quality and quantity of their milk, the Associated Press reported on Sunday.

Experts will help China increase its annual milk production to 40 billion kilograms in coming years, the report quoted an unidentified Dutch government source as saying.

"China will bring more opportunities for foreign investors while the country has been striving for equality and prosperity for each citizen. The direction can bring more business opportunity for us as well," said Frans Frielink, vice-president for business development of GreenPeak Technologies BV in the Netherlands, after hearing the president's speech at an economic and trade forum.

Nancy McKinstry, CEO of Wolters Kluwer in the Netherlands, a global information services company, said it is encouraging to see China continuing to stimulate investment and hiring in the services industry, such as healthcare.

"We are seeing that over the past years spending on healthcare in China has grown considerably, and we see growth in the Chinese healthcare segment as an important part of our company's business strategy," said McKinstry.

The Netherlands has been China's second-biggest trading partner in the European Union for 11 years. It is also China's third-largest source of foreign direct investment in the EU.

Meanwhile, China is the biggest trading partner and second largest source of investment for the Netherlands outside the EU.

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