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IP/09/708

Brussels, 6 May 2009

EU and China to hold high-level economic and trade talks

The European Commission and the Chinese government will tomorrow continue their close working relationship with high-level economic and trade talks in Brussels. EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton and Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Qishan will chair the second meeting of the High Level Economic and Trade Dialogue (HED). A further eight EU Commissioners and a total of 12 Chinese ministers or vice-ministers are set to participate in far-reaching talks aimed at strengthening the trade and investment relationship in order to speed recovery in the current economic crisis.

Speaking before the opening of the meeting, Commissioner Ashton said: “The way out of this economic crisis is not to shrink into our shells. We need to kick-start our economies, fight protectionism and create new opportunities for trade and investment. The EU and China have both taken proactive steps to get our economies moving again and we should focus on making sure our economic relationship is fair and open.”

During two plenary sessions on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, the two sides intend to cover the following topics: Trade, investment and competition; small and medium-sized companies; customs cooperation; sustainable development including low carbon economy; energy; food safety and trade in food, consumer protection and product safety; healthcare; innovation and intellectual property rights; geographical indications; technology and information society; and transport.

There will also be a working lunch with CEOs and Chairpersons of leading European companies, as well as a dinner for participants on the EU and Chinese side.

Background

The High Level Economic and Trade Dialogue (HED) is a Chinese initiative, and was agreed on at the November 2007 Summit by Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, in order to address the imbalance in trade flows between the EU and China. The broad remit of the HED is to examine the global trading system; strategic bilateral trade-related issues; investment; innovation, technology and IPR; and EU-China economic cooperation. The mechanism is to function as a complement and reinforcement to established EU-China dialogues.

For more information on the HED and the EU-China economic relationship, see the Memo 09/220 or go to http://ec.europa.eu/trade/.


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