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EU-China: closer partners, growing responsibilities

The Commission presents guidelines with a view to strengthening the cooperation between the European Union (EU) and China. This communication sets out a number of recommendations on the transition to democracy, sustainable development, trade and customs and international cooperation for a deeper partnership.

ACT

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 24 October 2006 entitled "EU-China: closer partners, growing responsibilities" [COM(2006) 631 final - Not published in the Official Journal].

SUMMARY

The European Union (EU) supports the sustainable development of China by strengthening its partnership for political, economic and social reform. Strong economic growth in China has promoted stability and poverty reduction but the country still faces significant challenges.

In this respect, the two partners have decided to re-assess their trade and cooperation agreement in order to establish a more global partnership, covering the whole of their relationship.

The Commission also presents the cooperation priorities for the partners, which take into consideration their joint interests and the development of their relationship.

Supporting political transition

The EU and China hold regular political dialogue on human rights, the protection of minorities and the strengthening of the rule of law. In this field, the partners shall:

  • orient their objectives towards achieving concrete results;
  • monitor their actions;
  • coordinate their actions with bilateral dialogues conducted between China and the EU Member States.

Promoting energy efficiency and environmental protection

China and the EU are two of the principal actors in the global energy markets. Their cooperation is carried out within a context of increased energy demands. In particular, it aims to:

  • improve transparency and the regulatory environment of the energy sector;
  • exchange techniques and information for managing resources effectively, and the development of renewable energies;
  • favour investment and the opening up of public procurement;
  • promote the application of international standards.

On the basis of a joint declaration in 2005, the EU assists China on preventing pollution, protecting biodiversity, combating deforestation, and the sustainable management of fisheries, water resources and raw materials.

This declaration also opens the way for closer cooperation on tackling climate change, specifically in order to meet the requirements of the Kyoto Protocol.

Balancing economic and social development

The EU proposes extending the political dialogue to decent work standards, health and the ageing population.

In addition, China must reform its growth model in order to promote social inclusion and to increase the purchasing power of its population. The partners shall cooperate to define and implement balanced monetary and fiscal policies.

Improving trade and economic relations

The EU is China's largest trading partner. Its imports represent more than 19 % of China’s external trade. In addition, the growing Chinese market represents a significant export opportunity for European companies.

In order to comply with commitments to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the partners must specifically:

  • promote the opening up of the Chinese market to investments and exports;
  • define fair trade rules, specifically regarding protecting intellectual property rights and decent work standards;
  • resolve trade disputes through dialogue or trade defence measures and the WTO dispute settlement system.

Strengthening sectoral cooperation

More targeted bilateral cooperation is needed in the following fields:

  • cooperation in science and technology, including the participation of researchers in the respective research programmes and projects of each of the partners;
  • immigration, to establish a legal framework for exchanges and readmission, but also concerning the fight against organised crime and terrorism;
  • cultural exchanges, by supporting relations between the civil societies;
  • education, through student exchange programmes and interaction between universities.

Encouraging security and international cooperation

The EU and China both have an interest in conducting a structured dialogue on peace and security in certain regions of the world, particularly in East Asia, where China is a key player. The EU also supports dialogue between China and Taiwan in order to promote the stability of the region.

The cooperation also concerns transparency on military expenditure, nuclear non-proliferation and the progressive lifting of the European arms embargo.

Lastly, the partners must work together to coordinate international actions in the area of development aid, particularly for sustainable development, peace and stability in Africa.

 
Last updated: 01.09.2011
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