AUSTRIA'S federal Chancellor, Mr Franz Vranitzky, will this week become one of the first foreign leaders to meet Mr Jiang Zemin in the latter's new role as premier, when he visits the mainland in a bid to strengthen economic co-operation between the two countries. Mr Vranitzky, with his Minister of Finance and a group of government officials and top business executives, is to meet leaders in Beijing. The Austrian delegation travels to Shenzhen today. Later it will visit Shanghai and Beijing. In addition to Mr Jiang, the group will see Prime Minister Li Peng, Foreign Minister Qian Qichen and Vice-premier Zhu Rongji. A high-powered government delegation from Austria last visited China in 1986, when then-federal president Rudolf Kirchschlager ended the post-war dearth of visits to the mainland. Speaking in Hongkong at the outset of the trip, Mr Vranitzky said talks with China's leaders would cover topics from human rights to trade and economic relations. ''I think China is an important country. It is an important market and the way in which it enters the international community is important for the sake of future stability and peace. ''So I consider it important even for a tiny country like Austria to have clear-cut relations with a giant like China.'' Austria's population is only slightly larger than that of Hongkong. Mr Vranitzky said he saw stronger trade and economic links as the backdrop to improved human rights. He also said that Austria broadly backed China's re-entry into the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, but added that China would need to meet the rules fully.