China’s prime minister has promised that Beijing will respect European standards and fair trade, seeking to allay concerns that it’s flouting EU competition rules with huge investments on the continent.

Opening an annual summit of Eastern and Central European nations and China, Li Keqiang said “we intend to fully respect European standards.”

Beijing has also been criticized for failing to give reciprocal access for European companies to Chinese markets.

China's Prime Minister Li Keqiang, center, arrives at the Summit of Central and Eastern Europe and China in Dubrovnik, Croatia, Friday, April 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
China’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang, center, arrives at the Summit of Central and Eastern Europe and China in Dubrovnik, Croatia, Friday, April 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

He adds “we welcome openness and we want to treat all companies that operate in China equally and to increase imports from the (European) countries.”

EU member Croatia is hosting a two-day summit between China and 16 regional countries on expanding business between China and the region, dubbed 16+1.

Croatia's Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, right, welcomes his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang at the Summit of Central and Eastern Europe and China in Dubrovnik, Croatia, Friday, April 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
Croatia’s Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, right, welcomes his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang at the Summit of Central and Eastern Europe and China in Dubrovnik, Croatia, Friday, April 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
Croatia's Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, right, welcomes his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang at the Summit of Central and Eastern Europe and China in Dubrovnik, Croatia, Friday, April 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
Croatia’s Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, right, welcomes his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang at the Summit of Central and Eastern Europe and China in Dubrovnik, Croatia, Friday, April 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
Croatia's Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, right, welcomes his Romanian counterpart Viorica Dancila at the Summit of Central and Eastern Europe and China in Dubrovnik, Croatia, Friday, April 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
Croatia’s Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, right, welcomes his Romanian counterpart Viorica Dancila at the Summit of Central and Eastern Europe and China in Dubrovnik, Croatia, Friday, April 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)