trade hitting $682 billion last year, said Zhang Min

 head of the Chinese Mission to the EU. So far, 22 European countries have signed memorandums of understanding with Chi

na to promote the Belt and Road Initiative, with Italy and Luxembourg the most recent examples, he said.

Chen Fengying, a senior researcher at the China Institutes of Contemporary International

Relations, said that Li’s European trip is to further enhance high-level exchanges and political trust between

China and the EU, following President Xi Jinping’s visit to Italy, Monaco and France last month.

Both sides support the multilateral trading system and face challenges posed by risin

g protectionism and unilateralism to economic globalization and multilateralism, Chen said. On the global geopoliti

cal stage, China is developing at a very fast pace with an enormous economic scale, Chen said.

“As a huge market, China has reiterated its opening-up (policy) to the ou

tside world, including to European countries. Therefore, both sides should strengthen cooper

ation and exchanges in areas such as trade, investment and the Belt and Road Initiative,” she said.

lirxb.cn