China's Xi to make state visit to Spain next week

Xi's visit comes as Spain and China mark 45 years of bilateral ties

Chinese President Xi Jinping will make a state visit to Spain next week as the two countries celebrate the 45th year of ties, Spain's royal palace said Monday.

Xi "will begin a state visit to Spain on November 28," a spokesman told AFP, without specifying how long it would be or giving details of the programme.

A state visit typically involves a meeting with Spain's King Felipe VI and Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, as well as with the heads of the country's lower and upper houses of parliament.

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Spain in May.

While Spanish exports to China increased last year by 28.3 percent, it still has a trade deficit of 19.4 billion euros ($22.1 billion), a 2.3 percent increase over the previous year.

China has agreed to open itself up more to Spanish goods and services.

Some 600 Spanish firms are present in China, mainly small companies, although multinationals such as Telefonica, Zara-owner Inditex and major banks like Santander and BBVA also operate in the country.

Sanchez's predecessor Mariano Rajoy made an official visit to China in September 2014.