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China will further improve its business environment, step up intellectual property rights protection and provide equal treatment to domestic and foreign enterprises, Premier Li Keqiang said on Friday (June 29).

China will only become more and more open and will further transform government functions to stimulate market vitality, Li said in a meeting with Republic of Korea representatives on Friday. They had traveled to Beijing for the first round of dialogue between business leaders and former government officials of the two countries.

He said the Chinese government considers of great importance the protection of intellectual property rights with new measures, including raising the compensation ceiling for IPR infringements by a large margin and increasingly intensifying law enforcement.

He welcomed ROK enterprises to seize opportunities with China's further opening-up and high-quality economic development by deepening cooperation and expanding investment, especially to the country's middle and western areas.

Landmark cooperative programs in electronics should be expanded, and the two countries should make joint efforts to tap into third-party markets, Li said.

Against the backdrop of rising protectionism, unilateralism and a backlash against globalization, China and the ROK, as major economies both regionally and globally, should jointly safeguard multilateralism and the free-trade system and promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, Li said.

The two countries are faced with new opportunities to deepen win-win cooperation as bilateral ties maintain a momentum of improvement and the regional situation eases, he said.

The two sides should steadily push forward the China-Japan-ROK free-trade agreement negotiations based on the consensus reached during the seventh China-Japan-ROK leaders' meeting in Tokyo, he said. According to a statement released after the meeting, ROK representatives are paying close attention to China's innovation-led strategy, and they said they appreciate efforts made by China to improve its business environment.

They also expressed willingness to expand investment in China and enhance innovative cooperation as new opportunities arise from China's economic transformation, industrial upgrading and expansion of new types of business.

The first round of the dialogue was hosted by the China Center for International Economic Exchanges and the Korea Chamber of Commerce & Industry in Beijing on Friday.

China has become the biggest trading partner and overseas investment market of the ROK, while the ROK is the fourth biggest trading partner for China, according to Ning Jizhe, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission.

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