Plenkovic said CEE countries’ exports to China rose f

 fivefold in the past few years, which helps reduce trade disparities with developed

economies. He called on all CEE nations to take the opportunity to deepen economic and trade cooperation with China.

Zhong Shan, minister of commerce, said over 1,000 people participated, the most since the event started nine yea

rs ago. “It demonstrates the increasing confidence in the forum and cooperation with China at large,” he said.

In recent years, China’s trade with CEE nations has seen rapid growth. According to the Ministry

of Commerce, China’s imports from the countries have risen by 24.6 percent to $23 billion. Chinese compan

ies have invested over $10 billion in CEE nations, which in turn have injected more than $1.5 billion into China,

focusing on machinery, auto components, the chemical industry, financing and environmental protection.

After the forum, Li and Plenkovic attended an exhibition of Chin

a-CEEC education cooperation and a dialogue mechanism to boost cooperation among small an

d medium-sized enterprises from both sides. Before leaving for Beijing, Li also had separate

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