EU and China seize momentum to enhance trade agreements in response to Trump’s administration

EU-China Summit
From left to right: Mr Jean-Claude JUNCKER, President of the European Commission; Mr Li KEQIANG, Prime Minister of China; Mr Donald TUSK, President of the European Council.
Shoot location: Bruxelles – BELGIUM
Shoot date: 02/06/2017
Copyright: European Union

The EU-China summit will take place on July 16-17 in Beijing where both parties are going to discuss how to improve their trade and investment relations the moment when Donald Trump’s administration is imposing tariffs all around the world shaking the world and trade order.

Chinese and EU leaders have already met in Bulgaria and Germany during the last days expressing their willingness to cut beneficial deals for both nations. Besides, China is EU’s biggest source of imports and its second-biggest export market, as far as trade is concerned.

Despite the fact that EU and China attempt to team up to bridge the US gap, there are still trade disagreements which are pledged though by China to be overcome through the protection of the multilateral world order and access improvement of its vast domestic market.

EU-China High-level Economic and Trade Dialogue

During the 7th annual EU-China High-level Economic and Trade Dialogue (HED) which was held in Beijing on June 25, Vice-President Jyrki Katainen and Vice-Premier of the State Council Liu He, who is responsible for the relations with the EU and the US, had the chance to talk about the things that separate them ahead of a fruitful summit. Both sides agreed to exchange market access offers to strengthen the momentum in order to achieve a more powerful agreement on Investment.

In detail, European Commission Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness stated:

“I am confident that the exchanges we have had with my new counterpart, Liu He, have been useful in paving the way towards a successful EU-China Summit in the economic and trade field. I am particularly pleased with the progress achieved in our investment negotiations and look forward to an exchange of offers at the Summit.”

What is more both mentioned that at the upcoming EU-China Summit they would be ready to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the Circular Economy, an MoU for an Emissions Trading System and an Oceans’ Partnership that includes fisheries.

More preparatory talks

Chinese delegation’s recent visits in the Old Continent have shown that there is great chance to have a joint communiqué at the 20th EU-China summit.  Last Saturday, the Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang met with eastern and central European leaders in Sofia, Bulgaria announcing China’s will to open its economy to everyone.

More specifically, Li Keqiang mentioned:

“Opening up has been a key driver of China’s reform agenda, so we will continue to open wider to the world, including widening market access for foreign investors. Countries are welcome to board China’s economic express to share opportunities of China’s development.”

Furthermore, the Chinese Prime Minister went to Germany to meet the Chancellor two days ago and talk about the enhancement of their economic ties as Donald Trump’s MAGA (Make America Great Again) policy is affecting both economies. During their discussions, commercial deals were signed worth of around 20 billion euros where Siemens, Volkswagen and BASF are among the German companies to be get the lion’s share.

Once more, Prime Minister Li Keqiang stressed out that

“China has intellectual property guarantees in place to ensure that German companies need not fear losing proprietary technologies”.

The above framework was anticipated as on June 25 Li Keqiang told French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe that Beijing thinks of buying more planes this year and was ready for further talks with France about obtaining Airbus aircrafts. Also, China signed an agreement to import beef from France and pledged to buy more farm products.

Vice President Liu He mentioned after the conference that

“Both sides believe that we must resolutely oppose unilateralism and trade protectionism and prevent such behavior from causing volatility and recession in the global economy”.

All in all, Trump’s MAGA policy has caused global trade turbulences and as a result China and the EU are fighting back against the protectionist measures of the US government by joining forces, in a joint effort to maintain the multilateral trading system.

Therefore, both the EU and China currently exchange views on market access, state subsidies, forced tech transfers, and cyber security in order to achieve a strong EU-China trade agreement; something that seems to be the case after all.

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