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China, EU Reach New Consensus on Economic Cooperation
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China and the EU on Tuesday reached an eight-point consensus, and signed new agreements to further develop trade relations and enhance intellectual property rights (IPR) protection.


During their 21st China-EU Economic and Trade Joint Committee meeting, the two sides also agreed to speed up preparation for talks on a new partnership framework agreement, which is based on the 1985 Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement, to further intensify economic links.


A memorandum of understanding on joint IPR protection efforts was signed after the meeting.


Speaking at a press conference, Chinese Commerce Minister Bo Xilai said Sino- EU trade relations are enjoying steady and rapid development at present. The two sides should therefore look for new ways to energize future development.


EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson praised trade links as a vital engine that power the Sino- EU relationship. He said that the EU is willing to settle trade disputes through dialogue and consultation so as to maintain smooth relations.


The eight-point consensus reached by the two sides involves settlement to trade frictions through friendly consultations, IPR protection mechanism exchange, establishing a China-EU trade cooperation website, enhanced cooperation between small and medium-sized companies, department-level exchanges and dialogue on service trade, and informal dialogues in the iron and steel sector.


Referring to a policy paper that the EU released recently, Bo spoke highly of the EU's description of China's economic boom as an opportunity rather than a threat.


However, he criticized the EU's anti-dumping investigation against imported Chinese shoes and expressed his regret over their handing of the auto parts dispute to the World Trade Organization.


Bo called on the EU to exercise objectivity and recognize China's full market economic status.


The EU is China's largest trading partner, with bilateral trade volume valued at US$200 billion in 2005.


(Xinhua News Agency November 8, 2006)


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