Top officials from China and the European Union (EU) on Friday vowed to intensify their trade links in the principle of talks and win-win after a one-day ministerial meeting.
In their 20th EU-China Economic and Trade Joint Committee meeting, the representatives discussed all aspects of the ever- increasing bilateral relationship, focusing on market access, intellectual property rights and Doha issues.
Speaking after the meeting Chinese Commerce Minister Bo Xilai said the Chinese government attached great importance to the Sino- EU relations. "China is interested in entering EU market but also has confidence on its own market," said Bo.
Bo Xilai, who also met External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner before the meeting, noted that since the EU and China first established relations in 1975, their bilateral trade had risen 74-fold, and was expected to exceed 200 billion euros ( about US$240 billion) in 2005.
EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said the Commission plans to produce a Communication on Europe's trade and investment relationship with China early in 2006.
At the same time, the Commission and China will look at ways in which a new framework agreement between them could better reflect the economic and strategic changes in Europe's relationship with China over the last two decades.
"It will put at its heart the growth of trade and investment between the two sides," said the Commissioner.
"I am absolutely convinced that Europe needs a powerful strategic response to Chinese growth."
"Those wanting to restrict this relationship do not have the EU 's or China's interests at heart," he added.
The Commissioner also said that he would continue to work with China to ensure it meets the technical criteria for Market Economy Status.
"Substantial progress towards Market Economy Status has been made, and at the EU-China Summit in September it was decided to upgrade our dialogues on this issue," said the European Commission in a press release.
The EU and China also discussed the EU's recent offer on agricultural market access and their mutual interest in balanced and ambitious progress in all areas of negotiation to ensure a successful Ministerial meeting in Hong Kong.
During the Joint Committee meeting, Mandelson and Bo discussed EU enlargement and initialed a bilateral agreement on a package of measures to compensate China on products where EU enlargement resulted in losses to Chinese exporters.
Both sides noted that this was a deal that fully reflected the WTO (world trade organization) rules on this, and that benefited both the EU and China in a balanced way.
Also, a large-scale China-EU investment and trade fair is scheduled to be held in Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan province, in November 2006, according to a signing ceremony of the fair Friday. The fair will be co-sponsored by the EU Commission, China Council for the Promotion of international Trade and the provincial government of Sichuan.
The two-day fair is expected to draw nearly 400 businesses from 25 EU countries and 500 Chinese businesses, said Franz Jessen, minister-counsellor of the EU delegation to China. About 6,000 one-to-one talks will be held between the Sino-EU enterprises during the fair, which will focus on agriculture, tourism, medical care, environmental protection, machinery, construction equipment and IT industry, he said.
(Xinhua News Agency November 5, 2005)