Li: Intellectual property rights to be better protected

Premier addresses business forum during visit to Holland

China will devote more effort to protecting intellectual property rights when dealing with foreign investors, Premier Li Keqiang said.

Li made the remark when addressing the China-Netherlands Business Forum 2018 in The Hague, Netherlands, on Tuesday, before wrapping up his first official visit to the country. He attended the forum with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

"China will not force any technological transfer on any investors. Cooperation must be based on companies' will, and firmly stick to free trade," Li told a full house of business leaders from both countries.

He said in 2017, the amount of IPR fees paid by China was the second largest in the world.

With China's economy undergoing transformation and upgrading, Li said, high-quality growth requires international cooperation in innovation. He said China welcomes Dutch investors, big or small, to invest in China, adding that China's population of nearly 1.4 billion presents large market potential for the commercialization of technical research.

"China will continue its efforts in opening-up, and will give equal treatment to all investors in China. The country remains a popular destination for foreign investment," Li said. China's economy shows steady yet slowing growth for the third quarter, but it remains within a reasonable range, he said, adding that China is confident of fulfilling its established goals. Li said that before the forum, he and Rutte jointly witnessed the signing of business agreements between the two countries worth close to $10 billion. The two leaders also visited a high-tech products exhibition and held talks with some business leaders from the two nations.

"This demonstrates that cooperation between China and the Netherlands is huge," Li said. "Governments from the two countries will work hard to create an enabling business environment for investors."

The Netherlands is China's second-largest trading partner in the European Union, according to Commerce Minister Zhong Shan, who also spoke at Tuesday's forum. Bilateral trade volume between the two countries reached $78.38 billion in 2017, an annual increase of 16.5 percent.

Addressing the forum, Rutte said that in the long run, both China and the Netherlands will benefit from a rules-based multilateral system, and he thinks there is major potential in Sino-Dutch business cooperation.

"Protectionism stands in the way of progress. And on a level playing field, we can all be winners," Rutte said.

The Netherlands is the second leg of Li's nine-day trip from Asia to Europe, which began on Thursday with a visit to Tajikistan. Next, he will go to Belgium.

(Source: China Daily)