China, EU seek stronger partnership amid Euro debt

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China's bigger role in addressing European debt crisis

President Hu told Van Rompuy and Barroso on Wednesday China would join international efforts to back Europe and the eurozone, echoing Premier Wen's pledge of China's bigger part in resolving the European sovereign debt issue.

During the summit, Premier Wen expressed confidence in the euro and the European economy, adding China's willingness to support the EU in dealing with the debt issue is firm.

China is also considering more involvement in addressing the issue through the European Financial Stability Facility and the European Stability Mechanism, Wen added.

European leaders welcomed China's positive attitude. Van Rompuy said China's support helped the EU and eurozone restore confidence, and they look forward to further cooperation to strengthen the stability of the eurozone.

"Europe has a clearer understanding of China's role and expects China's greater help in dealing with the crisis. Chinese leader has sent a very positive message to this end," said Li Gang.

China has shown its companionship and, more importantly, sincerity in a time of crisis.

"The consensus between Chinese and European leaders on the debt issue would help boost confidence in the European market, and send a positive signal to the world in countering the crisis," said Chen Xin, an analyst for the Institute of European Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Resolving MES in swift, comprehensive way

The issue as to recognition of China's full market economy status (MES) has long been a stumbling block to the development of China-EU relations.

Chinese and European leaders have agreed in their summit to work toward resolving the MES issue "in a swift and comprehensive way."

The agreement was, for the first time ever, listed in the joint press communique of a China-EU summit, with Van Rompuy saying there was "strong political will" on both sides to solve the issue.

Wen pledged that China would improve its laws and regulations in relation to foreign investment, enhance protection of intellectual property and improve its investment environment.

China has urged countries to recognize its full-market economy status as soon as possible and relax restrictions on high-tech commodity exports to the country.

"Along with the rise of China's position in the global economy and the rapid growth of China-EU cooperation, the European leaders are now taking a more active approach to addressing the issue," said Li Gang.

"The key step lies in the European side making a correct and wise political decision to grant China market economy status as soon as possible," he went on.

According to China's World Trade Organization Accession Protocol signed in Doha a decade ago, a 15-year transitional period has been imposed on China's market economy status. China will automatically get full market economy status by 2016.

The 14th China-EU summit had previously been set for last October, but was postponed as EU leaders scrambled to combat the Eurozone debt crisis.

The annual summit was initiated in 1998 as the top-level regular exchange mechanism between both sides.


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