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European Commission


Brussels, 19 November 2013

EU-China relations and the 16th EU-China Summit - Beijing, 21 November 2013

The 16th EU- China summit will take place in Beijing on 21 November 2013. The EU will be represented by Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, and Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission. The Republic of China will be represented by Prime Minister Li Keqiang. The EU leaders will also be meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping the evening before. The EU Presidents will be joined at the summit by Vice-President Kallas and Commissioners De Gucht, Oettinger and Hahn.

The summit will mark the 10th anniversary of EU-China Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and provide an opportunity to launch new initiatives to take the relationship forward in the next decade.

A strategic agenda on security, prosperity and sustainable development is expected to be adopted and negotiations are expected to be launched on an EU - China bilateral investment agreement.

The EU Presidents, Van Rompuy and Barroso, and Prime Minister Li Keqiang will also be attending the closing ceremony of the 8th EU - China Business summit and of the Urbanisation Forum.

Under the theme of green growth in a safer world discussions at the summit are expected to focus on:

EU - China bilateral and economic cooperation. Leaders will discuss bilateral cooperation, in particular innovation (the first dialogue on innovation will take place at the side of the summit), urbanisation partnership, agriculture, migration and mobility as well as people-to-people exchanges. In terms of economic cooperation, focus will mainly lie on trade and market access as well as the expected launch of negotiations on an investment agreement.

International and regional issues. Recent developments in in the EU's and China's respective neighbourhoods will be discussed. This will among other issues include Asian regional security and ASEAN. In this context, the EU will reaffirm its strong support for ASEAN's integration and its centrality in the evolving regional architecture. The importance of bringing lasting peace and stability to Syria and its people will also be one of the main topics of discussion.

Global issues. The global economy and the two sides efforts and contributions to economic stability and prosperity will be discussed. This will also include important cooperation in the G20. Global security cooperation and climate change will other important topics that will be addressed.

A joint press statement is expected to be issued at the end of the Summit.


EU- China diplomatic relations date back to 1975 and the EU-China Strategic Partnership was launched in 2003. It is based on the 1985 trade and cooperation agreement and has since grown to include a multitude of activities in areas such as creating opportunities for businesses, international security, environment protection and academic exchange.

Trade and investment

The EU and China enjoy one of the world's biggest trade relationships. The EU is China's biggest trading partner while China is the EU's second biggest after the United States, with trade in goods of €434 billion, and in services of €43 billion in 2012. EU-China trade and investment exchanges have become a major source of wealth, jobs, development and innovation.

The EU share of total Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows into China is steady around a fifth which makes the EU one of the five top FDI providers to China. However this represents only 2.1% of total EU FDI outflows – and the share of the EU in the total FDI outflows from China remains equally low. Investment agreement negotiations between the EU and China, to be launched at the summit, will aim to lead to improved investment protection and market access for both sides.

Cooperation in international affairs

The EU and China share the common goal of improving international security, including nuclear non-proliferation in the world. They are cooperating on Iran in the framework of the E3+3 format – which the EU chairs – and agree that the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and restart of six party talks is essential to ensure stability in the East Asia region.

EU and Chinese maritime vessels are successfully cooperating in fighting piracy. Since 2011, Chinese vessels have escorted World Food Programme vessels in the Gulf of Aden, burden-sharing with the EU. China expressed great appreciation for EUNAVFOR's involvement in the liberation of hostages from a Panamanian cargo ship in 2012. The EU also assisted in freeing Chinese hostages from a Taiwanese-operated ship. In the last two years, piracy off the coast of Somalia has decreased 95% thanks to such international efforts.

China is stepping up its support for peace keeping operations, such as in Mali, where the EU and its Member States are strongly engaged. It is the first time that China – as a UN Security Council Permanent Member – has pledged its military forces for such an operation.

People, education and exchanges

Tourism between the EU and China is booming. By 2020, 100 million Chinese tourists could be on the move every year, many of whom will be drawn to Europe. More and more Europeans also travel to China. There are already 70 direct flights daily between European and Chinese cities. Approximately four million Chinese travelled to Europe in 2011. Tourism is increasingly a source of prosperity and a good way of promoting mutual understanding between the EU and China.

Traffic between the EU and China has grown to six million passengers per year, three times the 2003 figure. The EU-China Civil Aviation Project has been an important tool to facilitate cooperation. Over five hundred officials and experts have received training through the programme.

EU-China academic exchanges have increased significantly over the last two decades, contributing to job creation, innovation and cultural cross-fertilisation between Europe and China. The Erasmus Mundus and Marie Curie programmes will continue to provide scholarships to Chinese students and professors to study and teach in the EU. The Chinese side has offered 30 000 scholarships, of which 20 000 will support Chinese students and scholars to study in all EU countries, and 10 000 will support EU students and scholars to study in China. In 2012, some 2 000 Chinese students benefitted from Erasmus Mundus scholarships. The China-Europe International Business School (CEIBS) and the EU-China School of Law have, for years, successfully trained businessmen and legal experts to promote exchanges between China and Europe. CEIBS has seen over 8 000 MBA and EMBA graduates pass through its doors and has provided management training for over 80 000 executives. The Financial Times has ranked the CEIBS Full-time MBA Programme #15 and its EMBA Programme #7 worldwide.


The new emphasis given by the Chinese government to environment protection and the transition to a low-carbon economy have created new opportunities to develop the EU-China cooperation to respond to environmental and climate change challenges at the domestic and global level. China aims at reducing CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by 40-45% from 2005 levels by 2020.

The new EU-China Urbanisation Partnership will address the economic, social and environmental challenges of urbanisation. 250 million Chinese citizens are expected to move into cities in the coming decades. The expected benefits from EU-Chinese cooperation include lower resource demand from Chinese cities, higher quality of life for their citizens and new business opportunities for EU companies. The EU and China are developing city pairings and other mechanisms to foster exchange of experiences and joint projects in a broad scope of sectors, from low-energy buildings to clean mobility, from integrated water and waste treatments to social inclusion, from sound local infrastructure to efficient public services. The EU and China are also working together on urban air quality and road safety to improve the lives of millions of Chinese and European citizens in China.


Securing energy needs is vital for both the Chinese and the European economy, and international cooperation is essential to bring positive outcomes to citizens. Both the EU and China aim at reducing energy consumption while securing sustainable energy supply. Specifically, in the area of peaceful uses of nuclear energy EURATOM and China are working together on the implementation of the ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) project focusing on the future production of fusion energy. Moreover, nuclear safety is a top priority for both sides.

Human rights

The EU - China human rights dialogue was set up in 1995 and is held twice a year, rotating between China and the EU, at the level of senior officials. The EU voices its concerns on specific issues in both public and private, as necessary. The EU Special Representative for Human Rights' visited China for the first time in September 2013 and this trip has opened a new high-level channel of communication with China and identified new areas for concrete projects aimed at improving people's lives.

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