Premier Li stresses free trade at China-Netherlands Business Forum

- China and the Netherlands should jointly maintain free trade and oppose unilateralism and trade protectionism, Premier Li Keqiang said at the China-Netherlands Business Forum on Oct 16 during his official visit to the Netherlands.

“It is transparent and open here, and you can enjoy the sunlight on your face,” Premier Li said of the glass-ceiling of Garden Gallery at The Hague Municipal Museum, where the forum was held.

“The fact that China and the Netherlands are holding the forum in such a place shows our willingness to conduct free trade and fair trade with openness and transparency,” he said in an impromptu speech.

Under the currently complicated circumstances of the world economy, the two countries should make joint efforts to maintain free trade, and oppose unilateralism and protectionism, he stressed.

Free trade is the prerequisite for prosperity in both China and the Netherlands — the Netherlands, with trade as its foundation, became one of the world’s first developed countries, and China owes its economic and social achievements over the past 40 years to its opening-up, Premier Li said.

China will unswervingly expand opening-up, for it is the precondition of China’s modernization, he said.

China is willing to work with the Netherlands to safeguard free trade and fair trade. “Without fair trade, free trade will not gain sustainable development, and without free trade, there is no fair trade,” the Premier added.

Benno Tempel, director of the museum, said the forum organizers grasped the implications of the glass-ceiling gallery, and hopes the forum will help the museum gain more popularity and attract more visitors.

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