Chinese president ends visit with piracy vow

Chinese President Hu Jintao vowed Sunday to combat global warming and copyright piracy and further open up China, in an address to Sweden's business elite closing a three-day state visit to Sweden.

At a dinner hosted by the Sweden-China Trade Council attended by top directors from Swedish companies such as Ericsson, Ikea and Volvo, Hu said China was committed to sustainable development.

“We will continue to follow the scientific thinking on development that is people-oriented and calls for comprehensive, balanced and sustainable development,” he said.

China is the second-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases after the United States, and the International Energy Agency expects its emissions to overtake the US by 2010.

Beijing has insisted it is committed to fighting climate change but has maintained that its economic development must come first and that rich nations should shoulder the main burden.

Hu reiterated Sunday that China would by 2010 “reduce energy intensity by 20 percent, cut discharge of main pollutants by 10 percent and increase forest cover from 18.2 to 20 percent.”

He also said China was committed to protecting intellectual property rights (IPR).

A survey published by the Business Software Alliance in Hong Kong last month showed that four in five software programmes installed in China last year were illegally obtained, though it noted some progress was being made thanks to efforts by authorities.

“China will continue to improve its laws and regulations on IPR protection and will severely penalize IPR violations,” Hu said.

The Asian country will also “continue its strategy of win-win opening up.”

“We will continue to expand our economic cooperation and trade with other countries and regions,” he said, adding that since China joined the World Trade Organisation in 2001 it had imported goods worth close to 500 billion dollars.

Hu’s visit to Sweden included talks with Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, where the latter raised the issues of human rights, climate and trade.

Two-way trade between Sweden and China reached 6.73 billion dollars in 2006, almost doubling that of 2000, Hu said.

Several major contracts were signed between the two countries during the state visit, including a one-billion-dollar deal for Ericsson to supply China Mobile with equipment to expand its GSM coverage in 19 regions of China.

Sweden and China also signed an agreement Sunday on environmental cooperation under which the two countries will exchange information and know-how.

Hu left Stockholm for China late Sunday.