“We need to accelerate our negotiation on the China-EU Investment Treaty”, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang highlights from the 21st EU-China summit in Brussels

EU-China Summit 2019, Signing ceremony
Shoot date: 09/04/2019, Location: Bruxelles – BELGIUM
Copyright: European Union

The presidents of the European Commission and EU Council welcomed the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang yesterday at the 21st EU-China summit in Brussels where the two sides acknowledged their Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

EU and China agreed to a joint statement confirming their strategic intent and efforts for a more resilient cooperation in the framework of mutual respect and economic growth. To be noted that this powerful agreement was reached just hours after the US President announced his will to impose tariffs on 11 billion dollars of U.S. imports of goods from the EU.

EU-China joint statement

After long negotiations prior to yesterday’s China-EU summit, both the EU and Chinese officials sealed a beneficial agreement. More specifically, Donald Tusk mentioned at the press conference: “Negotiations have been difficult, but ultimately fruitful. We managed to agree a joint statement, which sets the direction for our partnership based on reciprocity. This was our common effort and it is our common success.”

The two sides decided to boost trade relations and deepen their collaboration in an attempt to promote peace, growth and reforms. Furthermore, market access was agreed to be improved in order to finalise the EU-China Comprehensive Investment Agreement in 2020. The Chinese Premier stated during the summit: “We need to accelerate our negotiation on the China-EU Investment Treaty forge to secure desicive progress by the end of this year setting the stage for us to sign the high-level BIT between China and EU by the end of next year which treats businesses from both sides as equals and helps the two sides to open further to each other in both ways”.

As regards WTO’s reform, both sides committed to work closely towards strengthening international rules on industrial subsidies. According to Donald Tusk, this constitutes a “breakthrough” since it is the first time China agrees to address this issue commonly with the EU.

What is more, foreign and security policy were among the key agenda topics that both the EU and China were committed to. They will join forces to provide stability and peace through cooperation in accordance with the international law.

Last, but not least, the urgency to tackle climate change was set as a top priority in the statement. Therefore, it was jointly agreed to collaborate in the area of green finance in order to reverse the bad situation for the climate towards a more sustainable economy.

EU-China climate contribution

Climate change is rapidly creating immense environmental threats mainly due to human intervention. It is thus imperative to tackle this long-lasting issue that poses a threat to our future. As EU and China have pledged to implement the Paris Agreement and the Montreal Protocol and take effective actions to address climate change, it is crucial that they become climate’s global defenders by combining their powers. The latter gains imminent pertinence at this critical moment for the climate when other countries like the US withdrew from the Paris pact. Today the current Trump administration is worshipping “clean coal” and demonising wind energy.

EU-US trade war

The significant upgrade of the EU-China relations came moments after the Tweets by the US President promulgated the launch of tariffs against EU. Donald Trump claimed yesterday that the US will impose 11 billion dollars tariffs on EU goods in response to EU subsidies to Airbus. Through his favourite and trusted of all media, Twitter, the US President tweeted: “The World Trade Organization finds that the European Union subsidies to Airbus has adversely impacted the United States, which will now put Tariffs on $11 Billion of EU products! The EU has taken advantage of the U.S. on trade for many years. It will soon stop!”

If the MAGA threats take place, they will certainly have an economic impact on the Old Continent together with the tariffs that the US President has already threatened to impose on (German) cars imported from the EU.

EU-China future relationship

Naturally, the EU is China’s biggest trading partner while China is the EU’s second biggest partner. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang mentioned during the 21st EU-China summit that both sides need to enhance their collaboration and that China supports an integrated European Union. Also, from the EU side, President Juncker underlined: “our partnership with China for us is a priority – and it needs a comprehensive approach to match…European investment in China went up for the first time in four years in 2018.”

All in all, the strategic ties between the two parties are being invigorated, despite their differences. It is thus of the benefit and prosperity of the world that the EU and China prove to be valuable strategic allies in our turbulent modern times.

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