Finland becomes first western country to sign intergovernmental trade agreement with China

First Lady of Finland Jenni Haukio received President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki on Wednesday.

The two presidents held talks concerning political and economic relations between the two countries.

International affairs were also discussed, such as the partnership between China and the EU. They also witnessed Chinese and Finnish authorities signing a host of cooperative deals.

The inking of the deals makes Finland the first western country to sign an intergovernmental trade agreement with China.

This is Chinese President Xi Jinping’s first visit to an EU country this year. It’s also the second state visit to the Nordic nation by a Chinese president since diplomatic ties were established in 1950.

This week’s state visit is aimed at increasing political trust and cooperation. Currently, Finland is China’s third largest trading partner in the Nordic region, while China has been Finland’s biggest trading partner in Asia for 14 years.

The two countries upgraded their ties to a future-oriented new-type cooperative partnership in 2013, when Finnish President Sauli Niinisto paid a state visit to China.

Cooperation between the two countries has expanded to include areas such as culture, education, technology and the environment.

In particular, further cooperation in winter sports is expected as China will host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.