Brussels, 8 May 2009
The European Union and China have today called for an early and successful conclusion to the Doha Round of world trade talks, and pledged their commitment to closer cooperation to keep trade and investment flowing in the economic downturn. EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton and Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Qishan spoke to the press following the second meeting of the EU-China High Level Trade and Economic Dialogue (HED), between the European Commission and the Chinese government. They reiterated the adherence of both the EU and China to the conclusions of the G20 summit in London, particularly highlighting the message that economic openness is vital to recover from the financial and economic crisis. The Dialogue was attended by a total of 14 Commissioners and Director Generals from the European Commission and 12 Chinese Ministers and Vice Ministers.
Commissioner Ashton said: "Trade and investment will lead us out of the current crisis. The EU and China therefore stand together today in calling for the swift conclusion of the Doha Round, which will help us trade our way out of recession. The message that we are sending to our businesses and our citizens is that we are working together in these difficult times."
Commissioner Ashton highlighted the fact that there had been good discussions on trade and technology including intellectual property rights, customs cooperation and trade in food. The two sides also had good exchanges on climate change and energy issues, including the low carbon economy, energy efficiency and energy performance standards. Another focus was jointly supporting the growth and trade opportunities for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).
During two plenary sessions on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, the two sides covered 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.
Following the two days of meetings, Commissioner Ashton and Vice-Premier Wang attended a working lunch with CEOs and Chairpersons of leading European companies.
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 Commissioner Catherine Ashton's remarks to the press see Speech/09/229
For more information on the 2nd Meeting of the EU-China High-level Economic and Trade Dialogue see MEMO/09/226
For more information on the EU-China relationship see