Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, who met with the heads of South Korea’s business leaders in Seoul on Sunday, said China will seek models for shared economic growth with Korea. His remark came in a time when South Korea waits for an approval of the Korea-China free trade agreement by the National Assembly within this year.
Organized by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industries, the meeting brought together some 200 Korean business officials — including KCCI and Doosan Group chairman Park Yong-maan and the chiefs of major conglomerates including Samsung, Hyundai Motor, SK, LG, POSCO, Kumho Asiana and Kolon — and around 100 Chinese government and business officials.
“The Korean business community here has been paying close attention to Chinese markets. By jointly pioneering developing markets through bilateral cooperation, the two countries will see great potential for growth,” said Li in his speech.
By combining China’s strength in production with Korea’s high-level research and development expertise, the two sides will be able to reap success in not only China but other developing markets around the world, helping to rejuvenate the global economy, according to Li.
The Chinese premier also called for further mutual market liberalization and development on the back of the Korea-China FTA, which includes higher-level business ties in the financial and telecommunications sectors compared to other trade pacts China is engaged in.
“Once in effect, the Korea-China FTA will greatly improve and enhance trade, investment and the exchange of ideas between the two countries, offering opportunities for bigger growth,” said the KCCI chairman Park Yong-maan in a welcoming speech.
Korea’s President Park Geun-hye and Li on Saturday vowed to accelerate processes to push the Korea-China FTA into effect within this year and sealed more than 10 agreements to enhance business ties between the two countries.
In addition, Li vowed to establish a platform to facilitate direct currency exchange between the Chinese renminbi and the Korean won to drive down transaction costs and boost investments, as well as build up a joint investment fund to strengthen the two countries’ footing in the international finance sector.
As for concerns regarding a slowdown in China’s economy, Li emphasized that the country’s economy is continuing to expand in size every year, though growth is indeed slowing.
“Chinese spending has reached only half of its full capacity. There is still very large room for growth as our economy continues to expand and the government continues to restructure itself and push for bold reforms,” Li said.
“Though there may be many fluctuations in economic markers, there will not be major shocks. The Chinese government and its people have an ability to reasonably maintain the economy. There is no need to worry too much about minor volatilities,” he said.
In concluding, the Chinese premier expressed hopes that Korea, its “close neighbor,” will be the first to seize new opportunities that will arise as China upgrades its industries and further liberalizes its economy in the years to come.