Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht will meet China’s Commerce Minister Chen Deming in Beijing on 14 July, to discuss trade and investment relations between the EU and China as a part of the EU-China Joint Committee, which is convened annually.
The talks are likely to focus on ways to increase European trade and investment with China and ensure European companies gain better access to the large and still growing Chinese market. Commissioner De Gucht and Minister Deming will also discuss how to make progress on reducing trade barriers (including those on raw materials), the protection of intellectual property rights and the access to government procurement projects.
“China and Europe now trade over €1 billion per day, which is clearly a situation that benefits both parties,” said De Gucht, adding that “China’s economic openness is improving too slowly or not at all.” In recent years, China has become the EU’s fastest-growing export market, and the EU is by far China’s biggest market for their exports. However, China still keeps large parts of its investment market inaccessible, with certain sectors being completely excluded from foreign investment, while the public-procurement market in China remains somewhat closed.
The size of bilateral EU-China trade reached €395 billion in 2010, but the 2009 EU imported goods worth €282 billion from China, which shows clear imbalance of exchange in China’s favour. With the increased involvement of Chinese authorities in the Eurozone debt crisis, this meeting could be another indicator of a new dynamism in bilateral relations.