Rõivas hails China's talk of opening markets to Estonian products
Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas said Estonia is waiting for a real opening of the Chinese market to Estonian goods, especially agricultural products. His statement in Belgrade, Serbia, came after a meeting on Wednesday with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, during a summit focused on economic cooperation between China and central and eastern European states.
"Estonian producers are overjoyed by your statement that China’s market doors are open for Estonian goods,” Rõivas said to Li. "I believe that the Chinese side will rapidly institute procedures that lower trade barriers between Estonia and China in the field of agriculture, and that Estonian companies will have valid certificates for the export of its products to China."
The prime minister said that China has had support in expanding its products into eastern and central European nations. Due to favorable environmental conditions and the use of high-tech, Estonian agricultural products are also of high quality. "The granting of licenses for export of our agricultural enterprises would be a major step forward in achieving this goal [of expansion into the Chinese market]."
Li said that China's respective authorities are actively engaged in this issue.
Rõivas also said that now that the relationship between the two nations is even more active, Estonia welcomes China's increased interest of investors to invest in Estonia. He said that Estonia has the best business environment in the European Union.
The prime minister also expressed his appreciation for the New Silk Road Initiative, which aims to integrate Asian and European markets. "I believe that this project has the potential to bring China and Europe closer together and give a boost to the economy of both countries," he said.
China and 16 European countries have had representatives at the summit this week; 11 EU member states and five Western Balkan nations.
According to Fox News, China secured a deal during the summit to construct a high-speed train link between the Serbian and Hungarian capitals of Belgrade and Budapest that will cut travel time between them from eight hours to less than three. The 400-kilometer railway is part of China's plans to speed up the delivery of its exports to central Europe through the Greek port of Piraeus. The rail link is scheduled to be completed by mid-2017.
On Tuesday, Rõivas met with Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić, and said Estonia supports Serbia’s efforts to join the EU, and is willing to help in its accession process.