Wednesday, April 1, 2009

China-EU maritime transport agreement extended to Bulgaria, Romania

BRUSSELS, March 31 (Xinhua) -- China and the European Union (EU) on Tuesday signed a protocol in Brussels which extends the China-EU maritime transport agreement to Bulgaria and Romania.    

With the signing of the latest protocol, the China-EU maritime transport agreement, which was signed in 2002, is now applicable to all the 27 member states of the EU.    

The protocol was signed by Chinese Minister of Transport Li Shenglin, Czech Interior Minister Ivan Langer on behalf of the EU presidency, and European Commission Vice President responsible for transport Antonio Tajani.    

Li said China and the EU are important trade partners to each other, and the two sides attach great importance to bilateral maritime relations. The two sides have carried out successful cooperation since signing the China-EU maritime transport agreement in 2002.    

Li said the shipping industry in general has been hard hit by the global financial crisis and the economic downturn, and the maritime trade between China and Europe has not been immune to it. China would like to work together with Europe in taking effective measures to cope with the crisis and the challenges, Li said.    

China is willing to work with Europe to ensure stable and reliable transport of bilateral maritime trade, Li added.    

According to Chinese statistics, over the past three years, trade between China and the EU grew at an average 20 percent annually. More than 90 percent of bilateral trade of goods were done by sea.    

Last year, China's container exports to the EU rose to 5.9 million TEUs, representing 38 percent of the world's container exports to the bloc.

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