China and Spain signed business deals worth about 3.2 billion euros ($4 billion; TL 9 billion) yesterday during a visit by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to the Asian powerhouse to drum up support for his country's economy. At a ceremony in Beijing's Great Hall of the People, Chinese and Spanish companies signed 14 deals in industries ranging from telecommunications to nuclear power to finance. Rajoy, who will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday, is the latest European leader to visit China to lure investment from the world's second-biggest economy. He was welcomed to the capital by Premier Li Keqiang late on Thursday following a morning gathering of Chinese and Spanish business executives in Shanghai, where Rajoy called for Chinese investment in Spain, saying the Spanish economy was back on track after its problems during the euro zone debt crisis.
"Few countries offer such a good investment opportunity as Spain with its open and competitive market," Rajoy said in Spanish, adding that the food and consumer industries were areas where the companies of both countries could increase cooperation. Companies that took part in the meetings included Spain's largest bank, Banco Santander, Inditex, the owner of global fashion chain Zara, and Chinese e-commerce juggernaut Alibaba Group Holding, which listed on the New York stock exchange last week. The 14 agreements included deals between China's Huawei Technologies and Spanish telecom giant Telefonica and a 150 megawatt contract in Hebei Province for wind turbine maker Gamesa Corporacion Tecnologica. Spain is one of few economic brightspots in the eurozone this year. Chinese firms invested $90.2 billion in 156 countries last year, up 17 percent on an annual basis.
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Research Associate at Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) at Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University