Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, together with Minister of Rural Affairs Tarmo Tamm, are in Bulgara today, to attend a meeting with Chinese leaders, which should promote transit cooperation with China, as well as have the effect of supporting Estonian entrepreneurs entering the Chinese market.
The meeting, in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, is the seventh 16+1 summit, where 11 European Union countries, together with five western Balkan non-EU states, meet with representatives of China.
Li Keqiang, Prime Minister of China, is to be in attendance.
Mr. Ratas attended last year's meeting, that time accompanied by Entrepreneurship and Information Technology Minister Urve Palo, in Budapest, Hungary.
Mrs. Palo signed three memoranda of understanding with China at that meeting, namely the Silk Road Initiative Memorandum, the Digital Silk Road Agreement and the e-Commerce Agreement.
Last year's treaties aimed to broaden the opportunities for Estonian logistics and transportation companies.
This year's focus on agriculture, fisheries and rural affairs
This year's meeting, whilst perhaps overshadowed by larger issues in relation to US-EU relations, not to mention talk of a trade war between the US and China, will see Tarmo Tamm and Han Changfu, Chinese Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs sign an action plan to develop cooperation in the areas of agriculture, fisheries, and rural development for the years 2018–2022.
Mr. Ratas will also have a separate meeting in Sofia today Mr. Li Keqiang, and Mr. Tamm will also be present.
The Estonian Prime Minister and his rural affairs Minister are due to return to Estonia on Saturday evening.
Aside from Estonia, China, and the host nation Bulgaria, the other particpants are: Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia (from the EU), plus the Balkan states of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.
Editor: Andrew Whyte