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Barroso: to Solve Bilateral Problems in a Constructive Manner

EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said in Beijing Friday that the EU and China should solve bilateral problems in a "constructive and cooperative" manner.

In terms of recognizing China's full market economy status, Barroso told a press conference that he has told Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai that "it depends on some technical issues and some work has to be done on both sides before we can grant that status to China".

He said the EU is not at all making a negative assessment of the economic situation in China. On the contrary, EU recognizes the great achievement of the Chinese economy over the past years, and also its great successes in terms of opening and reforming the economy.

"We believe that in a spirit of good cooperation we can solve those problems," said Barroso. But with regard to the specific time, he said "I can not give you a precise answer".

On the issue of the EU's arms embargo on China, Barroso explained some obstacles to the lifting of the embargo. This decision needs unanimity, but the 25 member states of the EU have not yet reached a consensus. It also needs support from the European Parliament, the parliaments of member states and the European public.

Barroso said that he didn't like to make predictions on time. "But what I can tell you is that we are keeping that objective and it is still on the agenda of the European Union," he said.

The EU is now China's largest trading partner, with a bilateral trade volume of 177.28 billion US dollars, which is 74 times the trade volume in 1975 when the two sides established diplomatic relations.

Meanwhile, trade frictions are increasing between the two major economies. Shortly after the two sides reached an agreement solving textile frictions, footwear disputes have emerged.

Barroso noted that trade problems exist because trade exists. "We should look at it and solve it in a constructive manner, trying to have a good solution in a spirit of common interests," he said.

He added that the EU is committed to promoting an "important strategic partnership" with China, which is in the interest of both sides.

He said he hoped the EU and China would expand cooperation in the fields of energy, technology, civic aviation and space technology, in a bid to respond to global challenges like climate change, global terrorism, underdevelopment and some very dangerous epidemics.
(Xinhua News Agency July 16, 2005)

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