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Spain and China sign business agreement

Source: AP - Wed 5th Jan 2011

Spain has signed a number of business contracts with China today, which should be a welcome peice of good news for it's ailing economy.

Business covered includes the banking, energy, transport and telecommunications sectors and were signed after Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero met with China's Vice Premier Li Keqiang this morning. Other products discussed the wine, cured ham and olive oil industries.

Much of the media reported that the deals were estimated to be valued at some 5.6 billion Euros, but this has not been confirmed by any official government office at this stage.

A statement on the government's website reported how China has expressed support for Spain's economy and urged Chinese businesses to invest in Spain.

On Monday Vice-Premier Li wrote in the El Pais newspaper, that China was confident Spain would emerge from the economic crisis and added that it would continue to buy the country's public debt as a show of support in Spain's economy.

The visit was important for Spain, which is emerging from nearly two years of recession with a eurozone high unemployment rate of 20 % and a massive deficit.

Li began the day with a breakfast with some 100 business leaders representing both countries.

Yesterday he met with Finance Minister Elena Salgado and Industry Minister Miguel Sebastian. A statement released by the Finance Minsitry said the two had discussed bilateral relations and the economic situation on in Spain, the European Union and China.

Spain's connections with China have been growing since the countries signed a strategic association during a visit by President Hu Jintao in 2005.

Later on Wednesday Li went on to meet with King Juan Carlos and Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez. He will also visit Britain and Germany over the next few days.

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