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Ratas, Palo to meet Chinese leaders in Budapest at 16+1 business forum

Jüri Ratas at the China-CEEC 16+1 forum in Budapest on Monday. Nov. 27, 2017.
Jüri Ratas at the China-CEEC 16+1 forum in Budapest on Monday. Nov. 27, 2017. Source: (Jüri Ratas/Twitter)

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) and Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology Urve Palo (SDE) will meet in Budapest on Monday with the leaders of Central and Eastern European countries and the People's Republic of China at a 16+1 format business forum.

11 EU countries (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia), 5 Western Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia and Serbia) and the People's Republic of China launched the so-called 16+1 cooperation in 2012, according to a government press release.

Each year, the cooperation culminates with a summit, which will be held in Budapest this year, focusing on the development of cooperation in the field of trade and transport.

"There are a lot of untapped opportunities in the economic cooperation of Estonia and China, in particular in trade, transport and transit," Ratas said. "Relations between Estonia and China are good, but they could be stronger. The 16+1 meetings provide a good opportunity for this."

During the summit, Ratas will meet with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang, with whom he will discuss cooperation opportunities in transport and logistics.

Palo is also to sign three declarations of joint intent in Budapest with the People's Republic of China in the field of e-commerce. "Online trade with China is a continuously rising trend," said the minister. "Estonia is able to offer good and efficient solutions with well-developed logistical opportunities for the transport of goods from China. A good example of this are Omniva's growing volumes from China," she added.

Ratas will also have a separate meeting in Budapest with his Hungarian colleague Viktor Orbán to discuss the state of play and key issues of Estonian presidency of the Council of the European Union as well as relations between Estonia and Hungary. Additional meetings are also planned with Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic and Montenegrin Prime Minister Duško Marković.

The business delegation accompanying the ministers in Budapest includes representatives of Estonia Pianos, EVR Cargo AS, Pagaripoisid OÜ, Eesti Energia AS and the Port of Sillamäe.

From Budapest, Ratas will continue on to the summit of the European Union and the African Union in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, after which he will continue on a visit to Ghana. Ratas will also be accompanied by a business delegation both in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana.

The prime minister is to return to Estonia on Dec. 2.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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