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José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Statement by President Barroso at the press conference of the EU-China Summit
Press conference EU-China Summit/Beijing
21 November 2013
Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen,
This is a special moment. Even if I've met Premier Li several times in other occasions, this is our first Summit with him as a Prime Minister of China. I want to use the opportunity to wish him all the very best success for himself and for China.
And this is also a special moment for the EU-China relations because we are celebrating this year the 10th anniversary of our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
This is my tenth EU-China Summit as Commission President. I am proud of the role played by the European Commission in the consolidation and expansion of our relationships over these years. We have transformed our relations in a unique and irreplaceable bond, instrumental for the success and prosperity of our people.
In these 10 years our economies became more integrated and interdependent. Our trade flows grew tremendously, having quadrupled in this period of time. The European Union has been China's number one trading partner for these past 10 years.
But we went beyond trade and we have added a political and security pillar to our relation and a people-to-people pillar that is bringing both Chinese and European people together.
This Summit is also special because we are meeting in a moment where both China and the EU are in a turning point, enforcing their commitment to reforms. In Europe we are reforming our social market economy to better adapt it to today's world. And China is also committing very much to reforms. The Third Plenum met recently to discuss the main challenges for the next decade. Its conclusions, we believe, are far reaching, namely in terms of economic reform.
I had the opportunity to tell Premier Li during our meeting that the EU supports Chinese efforts to rebalance its growth model, to open up its economy, to become more socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable. At the same time we are grateful for the constant support that China has been giving to European integration. We see these objectives very convergent in terms of what can be the future of our relationship.
This why I am particularly happy that we were able to agree today on a 2020 agenda that will guide our cooperation for the next decade. This is both a strategic document and at the same time a very concrete one with a number of initiatives and engagements that we undertake to do. Our relations not only have a great history as now they also have a promising future.
And we did not lose any time as today we already launched some initiatives which are part of this 2020 vision.
We have decided to fully tap the potential of investment by launching negotiations for an ambitious investment agreement, covering both investment protection and market access. Our stakeholders expect that this agreement will enhance openness, provide for fair and equitable treatment and contribute to overcome some barriers in different sectors of the market.
This is essential to deepen further our already very dynamic and important trade relationship, indeed one of the most important economic relations in today's world. Today we also gave further steps to move up our cooperation in the value chain. I am delighted to announce that we launched an Innovation Dialogue, which allows us to make substantial progress on how to add value to our production and how to best support our society's creative forces.
We consolidated the Urbanisation Partnership that Primier Li and I launched last year in Brussels. With hundreds of millions of Chinese set to migrate from rural areas into the cities, managing urbanisation will be an unprecedented challenge. This morning I also had the occasion to visit the European Union-China Law School, a project that I launched with Premier Li 5 years ago. I was glad to meet Chinese and European and international students and to see that the Rule of Law can also be an expanding area of our dialogue and cooperation.
As global players and global partners we will also discuss how to best advance Climate Change negotiations in order to get an ambitious legally binding agreement by 2015 in the Paris Conference Of Parties; the future international development framework, in particular the need to combine poverty eradication with sustainable development and G20 issues such as global financial stability, the fight against tax evasion and corruption. These are, in fact, critically important for the future world order.
So, we have built a solid Strategic Partnership, we have launched the basis for this Strategic Cooperation for the next decade and I believe beyond. All this is consolidating a sentiment of strategic trust. Trust is something that needs to be nurtured and deserved on both sides. That comes from regular contacts and dialogue. I am grateful for the opportunity we had today to consolidate and expand that trust, for the benefit of our peoples and the world at large.
I thank you for your attention.