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China Says Has ‘Confidence’ in EU’s Crisis Measures

The European Union’s efforts in establishing a permanent rescue fund to prevent financial risks is ‘laudable’ and have boosted market confidence in the region, China’s Vice-Premier Li Keqiang said.

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The EU has made good progress towards fiscal integration and sent a positive signal to financial markets by launching the 500-billion-euro ($661 billion) European Stability Mechanism earlier than scheduled, Li wrote in a Financial Times editorial published on Tuesday. Li is on an official visit to Hungary, Belgium and the EU headquarters in Brussels from April 30 to May 4.

“In fighting the debt crisis, EU countries have enhanced co-operation and carried out reform with tremendous courage,” Li wrote. “This is laudable.”

Li’s words appear to be a softening of China’s stance towards the euro zone after President Hu Jintao criticized the region late last year for “not doing enough” to solve the debt crisis .

China, with its $3.2 trillion worth of foreign exchange reserves has been courted by a number of European countries, which hope Beijing will use its substantial funds to ease the sovereign debt crisis.

Last year, China nearly doubled its investment in Europe and bought bonds issued by European nations, including Portugal, Greece and Hungary. In Tuesday’s editorial, Li repeated China’s position that it will continue talks with Europe to “make a joint contribution” to address Europe’s sovereign debt situation.

At the same time, China is seeking relaxation of high-tech exports from Europe, saying that it will boost the $1.5 billion of daily trade between the world’s second-largest economy and the 17-nation bloc.

“It is estimated that every percentage point of increase in the EU’s high-tech exports to China will generate at least 2.2 billion euros of additional exports,” Li said. Relaxing control over high-tech exports is beneficial for both sides, he added.