Date
8 December 2016
China's Premier Li Keqiang speaks during a meeting with officials of Central and Eastern European countries in Riga, Latvia, on Saturday. Photo: Reuters
China's Premier Li Keqiang speaks during a meeting with officials of Central and Eastern European countries in Riga, Latvia, on Saturday. Photo: Reuters

China launches 10 billion euro fund for Central, Eastern Europe

China has set up a 10 billion euro (US$11.15 billion) investment fund to finance projects in Central and Eastern Europe, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (01398.HK, 601398.CN) says.

The China-Central Eastern Europe fund will be run by Sino-CEE Financial Holdings Ltd, a company established by the bank earlier this year, Reuters reports, citing an ICBC statement issued on Sunday.

 The company was formally launched by Premier Li Keqiang during his visit to Riga on Saturday.

The fund is aiming to raise 50 billion euros in project finance for sectors such as infrastructure, high-tech manufacturing and consumer goods, the bank said.

While targetting Central and Eastern Europe, it could extend to the rest of Europe and other regions if relevant to China-Central and Eastern Europe cooperation, it said.

The fund will be government-backed but will operate under business principles and be guided by the market, it added.

Central and Eastern Europe are part of China’s Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road strategy to carve out new export markets for its companies as the domestic economy slows.

China’s Vice Commerce Minister Gao Yan said last year that Chinese companies have already invested more than US$5 billion in Central and Eastern European countries.

But China’s push for more investment at the gateway to the European Union comes amid growing calls in Germany, the eurozone’s largest economy, to restrict Chinese investment in some sectors.

Riga is hosting a summit of leaders from 16 central and eastern European countries and China, a group dubbed “16+1″ by Beijing.

China Life Insurance and Fosun Group are also involved in managing the fund, the ICBC statement said.

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