Premier Wen Jiabao and visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel joined the celebration on Friday for the 100th A320 jetliner made in China as Chinese and European partners declared they will extend their contract on the Airbus assembly joint venture.
Hailed by Wen as a symbol of friendly Chinese-German ties, the assembly factory, whose contract is due to expire in 2016, will continue operating to 2026 and sell not only to domestic airlines but also international companies.
Located in Tianjin, a northern Chinese port city, the factory was founded in 2005 and its first product was completed in 2008.
Wen was present on both occasions.
He said German technicians at the factory were like teachers to the Chinese workers. He praised their contribution to the assembly factory’s success.
The relationship between China and Germany in which common interests and joint efforts in overcoming difficulties have borne the fruit of cooperation and innovation has set an example for the world, Wen said.
Merkel noted that China is the second-largest market for civil aircraft in the world.
The country’s demand for more aircraft will benefit Germany, Airbus and its assembly factory in Tianjin, Merkel said, adding that in 2015 Airbus will purchase components worth nearly $500 million from China.
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