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Ambassador: China-EU summit to have far-reaching
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The summit between leaders of China and the European Union (EU), scheduled for next week in Beijing, will have a far-reaching impact on the development of China's ties with the 27-nation bloc, China's EU Ambassador Guan Chengyuan said.


"This meeting, like previous ones, will definitely push forward mutually beneficial cooperation between China and the EU in all sectors and bring far-reaching impact on future development of the comprehensive strategic partnership," Guan told Xinhua in an interview.


Such summit meetings, the first of which took place in London in 1998, have become "an important mechanism" to enhance mutual understanding, reduce disputes, increase mutual trust and advance cooperation, Guan said.


Both China and the EU attach great importance to the 10th summit, which will focus on reviewing progress achieved in the past ten years and mapping out a plan for the next decade, the ambassador said.


Both sides agree that it serves the interests of China and the EU to have more coordination, consultation and cooperation in a complicated and fast-changing world and work together in safeguarding peace and stability and promoting development and prosperity, Guan said.


Guan described China-EU relations as "stable in the long term" and "increasingly mature and pragmatic." "The two sides have managed to handle their relations with a strategic vision, rather than being swayed by any given circumstance," he said.


Cooperation between China and the EU is developing smoothly in all fields, Guan said. "The growth in trade is amazing," he said, adding that the trade volume is expected to hit 340 billion U.S. dollars this year, compared to only 77.6 billion dollars ten years ago.


Tourism has been booming since China and the EU signed an agreement on "Approved Destination Status" in 2004. The number of European tourists going to China rose to 3 million a year while that of Chinese tourists to Europe reached 1 million last year, Guan said. "This contributes to promoting mutual understanding."


The ambassador also noted that as China-EU relations register rapid growth, there are some problems and disputes. He stressed that China "would never make concessions on issues of national sovereignty and territorial integrity," and that "China's core interests should be respected."


On the lifting of the EU's arms embargo against China and recognition of China's market economy status, Guan expressed the hope that the EU will make good on its promise and resolve the issues at an early date.


"An early settlement is conducive to the sound development of China-EU relations," he said.


Guan cited trade imbalance, intellectual property protection and market access as EU's major concerns. "China believes these issues should be worked out by adopting a rational and pragmatic approach," he said.


Guan called the EU's calculation of trade imbalance as "unfair," and said China's trade surplus with the EU is "not as high as the EU has claimed."


"We do not seek trade surplus, and the imbalance in bilateral trade needs to be solved as trade grows, adding balance of payment has long been in EU's favor and only in recent years did the EU increase its imports from China because of its industrial restructuring.


Both sides should consider each other's interests to achieve a win-win result, Guan added.


Guan said the Chinese government has taken many measures to protect intellectual property rights and expressed his hope the EU can offer advice and experience in this regard.


On market access, Guan said China is honoring its commitment to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the annual WTO review reports have given "very high marks " for China's performance.


Guan urged the EU to be patient. "The EU appears impatient and has raised some demands that have gone far beyond China's WTO commitments. This is unrealistic," he said.


A recent survey by the EU Chamber of Commerce in China showed that 90 percent of the European enterprises make profits in China and they are willing to invest more.


"This shows China's investment environment is good and the country is making continued efforts to improve it," he said.


(Xinhua News Agency November 23, 2007)

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