The European Union (EU) on Monday launched a public consultation designed to form part of its forthcoming major strategic review of trade and economic relations with China.
The EU executive European Commission will invite all interested parties, such as trade unions, companies and business associations, to comment on how the EU should manage its relationship with China in the decade to come.
The Commission's communication on the EU's trade and economic relationship with China is due to be published in the last quarter of 2006.
The rise of China as an economic power is a defining development of the early 21st century, according to the Commission in a press release, adding that it will bring opportunities and challenges both for China and the rest of the world.
"China's growing market offers real new commercial opportunities for EU exporters and investors. China's own strong export capacity offers a new competitive challenge for EU producers and exporters," the Commission said.
The review will focus on "key challenges such as intellectual property, market access issues and investment opportunities" and will "spark a lively debate both within the EU and in China," said the EU's Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson.
China has enjoyed a 10% growth rate over the past 26 years. It is already the third largest exporter globally. Trade relations between the EU and China are thriving. With more than €200 billion (US$254 billion) in 2005, the EU has become China’s top trading partner, and China is now the EU’s second most important trading partner after the US.
(Xinhua News Agency May 9, 2006)