Yuan likely to come up at China-EU summit

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The European Union (EU) is very likely to pressure China on currency appreciation at the upcoming Sino-EU summit in Brussels.

The EU hinted in a document released at the end of a one-day summit on Thursday that currency policy was high on the list of strategic interests the EU planned to pursue when Chinese and EU leaders meet in October.

"In view of the EU-China summit in particular, the European Union should actively pursue its strategic interests, (including) the dialogue on exchange rate policies," the document said.

President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy said at a press conference on Thursday the EU had already come up with unified ideas on what would top its agenda regarding the EU-China relationship though it was yet to work out an overall strategy.

"We have precise ideas on how to position ourselves vis--vis China (as reflected in the document)," said Van Rompuy.

"So thanks to today's discussion, when the president of the European Commission and I meet the Chinese Premier in Brussels, three weeks from now, we will not speak just for Brussels, we can speak on behalf of the 27 (EU member states)."

Apart from currency policies, a spate of other issues such as the promotion of bilateral trade, market access for goods and services, investment conditions, and the protection of intellectual property rights are high on the EU's list of strategic interests.

The EU also wants to discuss the opening up of public procurement markets and stronger discipline in the field of export subsidies when Premier Wen Jiabao visits Brussels.

Belgian Ambassador to China Patrick Nijs told China Daily that the EU-China summit is taking place in a new context, brought about by the Lisbon Treaty.

Van Rompuy said the Lisbon Treaty requires the European Council to define the EU's strategic interests, give strategic direction and deepen its involvement in the EU's foreign policy.

"I hope there will be a maximum discussion and exchanges in an open manner," said Nijs.

Regarding technology transfer, Nijs said he wouldn't expect it to happen at a government-to-government level, but instead at a business-to-business level.

"We should not blame anyone (for global climate change) because it's useless, and we have to work together to prevent the world becoming unlivable," Nijs added.

The ambassador pointed to China's efforts in sustainable development, and said that the nation deserves more credit than it has been given by Europe. "People in Europe should be a little bit more aware that China didn't just look on and let others do the work now we have to find a common standard to measure the level we have reached and the next level we aim at," said Nijs.

Nijs said the best way to solve the problem of the arms embargo on China is for all EU member states to have a discussion behind closed doors.

"We are really working to understand China's position on that. I know how close it is to the heart of China and how they think the EU is not acting fairly on that."

However, the ambassador stressed there has to be a consensus among all EU member states before the embargo can be lifted.

Van Rompuy said the EU economic outlook was not good, whereas others in the world were growing rapidly. "Moreover, we started to realize how the economic strength of emerging countries is transforming into real political power," he said.

"This affects us. New players do not always share our interests and world views," Nijs added. 

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