Monday

25th Sep 2017

Focus

EU-China united on climate, divided on trade

EU and Chinese leaders emphasised on Friday (2 June) the need for closer relations in an unstable world, whilst concealing disagreements behind their unity on fighting climate change in the face of the US retreat from the Paris agreement.

"My impression is that it was the most fruitful and most promising summit," European Council president Donald Tusk said after a meeting with Chinese prime minister Li Keqiang and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

He said that they "found what [they] have in common", but admitted that they "still need more time to be more precise in some aspects".

"Stable" EU-China relations are "useful to counter instability in this world," noted the Chinese premier, who added that this "requires our constant efforts to resolve existing issues".

The 19th EU-China summit signified a remarkable shift in global politics, as Trump’s pullout from the Paris deal once again cast doubts on the US’ leading role in international affairs, and prompted a more confident EU-China rapprochement.

Both sides "share a fundamental interest in upholding and strengthening the rules-based international system," Tusk said.

"We have a joint responsibility to protect this system," he added.

A day after Trump rejected the Paris agreement, the EU and Chinese leaders repeated their support for the deal.

"We are convinced that yesterday's decision by the United States to leave the Paris Agreement is a big mistake," Tusk said. "But the fight against climate change, and all the research, innovation and technological progress it will bring, will continue, with or without the US."

“Fighting climate change is more important today than yesterday. […] There is no reverse gear on energy transition, no backsliding on the Paris agreement,” European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker told a business conference earlier on Friday.

The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the full implementation of the Paris deal in a joint statement and committed to cutting fossil fuels, developing green technology, and to helping cut the emissions in poorer countries with a fund of $100 billion a year by 2020.

However, differences on trade loom over the fresh alliance.

Fair trade

The EU wants Beijing to wrap up an investment agreement, which would guarantee a level playing field and fair treatment for European businesses that are discriminated against on the Chinese market.

“One in two European companies say they feel less welcome when they entered the [Chinese] market, and more than half say they are treated unfairly compared to their Chinese competitors,” Juncker said.

He cited a World Bank survey, in which China ranked 78th place out of 183 countries in terms of ease of doing business. “A big economic powerhouse needs to be higher than mid-table,” he added.

A comprehensive agreement on investment would be a "game-changer”, Juncker said. He highlighted that while Chinese investment into the EU increased by 77 percent last year, the capital flow from the EU to China declined by almost one quarter.

Juncker also highlighted that the rule of law and human rights are a “prerequisite” for an attractive and stable investment environment.

The EU executive’s chief also urged China to address its overcapacity in production, especially in the steel sector, which hurts EU companies.

In addition, Juncker said that China should allow European companies to access contracts in China's multi-billion dollar Belt and Road infrastructure investment initiative on the same conditions as Chinese companies.

The Chinese premier responded by saying that China is making progress, and the level of investment would have been unimaginable three decades ago.

“I hope you can put things into context, we are working on the problems, the investment environment is getting better,” Li Keqiang said.

“We need to calm down and assess how we can best guarantee free trade and implement fair trade. We need to uphold multilateral rules,” the premier said.

“This world will be a jungle without multilateral rules,” he added.

Li Keqiang also turned around the EU's insistence on international rules to demand that China is granted market economy status by the EU, according to World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.

Europeans are wary of granting this status to China, for fear of Chinese economic dumping on EU markets.

"The EU must apply article 15," Li Keqiang said, referring to the WTO clause, which says that a country should be considered as a market economy 15 years after it joins the organisation.

On steel and WTO, "we were ble to narrow the positions but we are not there yet," Juncker noted.

EU and China move to fill US void

At a summit in Brussels, EU and Chinese leaders will attempt to deepen ties on trade and climate as US president Trump plans to pull out of the Paris climate deal.

Stakeholder

EU and Chinese SMEs matchmake in Brussels

While EU and Chinese political leaders discussed climate change and trade at the European Council in Brussels, hundreds of small and medium-sized enterprises from China and all across Europe participated in the EU-China SMEs Matchmaking Event at the Bozar.

EU preparing to screen Chinese investments

The EU is to screen foreign investments to avoid takeovers in sensitive sectors. But the plan, mainly aimed at China, will raise political and technical difficulties.

In cooperation with

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EEEU Finance Ministers Agreed to Develop New Digital Taxation Rules
  2. Mission of China to the EUGermany Stands Ready to Deepen Cooperation With China
  3. World VisionFirst Ever Young People Consultation to Discuss the Much Needed Peace in Europe
  4. European Jewish CongressGermany First Country to Adopt Working Definition of Antisemitism
  5. EU2017EEFour Tax Initiatives to Modernise the EU's Tax System
  6. Dialogue PlatformResponsibility in Practice: Gulen & Islamic Thought
  7. Counter BalanceHuman Rights Concerns Over EIB Loan to the Trans Anatolian Pipeline Project
  8. Mission of China to the EUChina Leads the Global Clean Energy Transition
  9. CES - Silicones EuropeFrom Baking Moulds to Oven Mitts, Silicones Are a Key Ingredient in Kitchens
  10. Martens CentreFor a New Europeanism: How to Put the Motto "Unity in Diversity" Into Practice
  11. Access MBAGet Ahead With an MBA Degree. Top MBA Event in Brussels
  12. Idealist QuarterlyIdealist Quarterly Event: Building Fearless Democracies With Gerald Hensel

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi Urges Bigger Global Role for Emerging Economies
  2. EU2017EEAre We Socially Insured in the Future of Work?
  3. European Jewish CongressFrench Authorities to Root Out "Societal Antisemitism" After Jewish Family Assaulted
  4. European Federation of Local Energy CompaniesClean Energy for All? On 10.10 Top-Level Speakers Present the Clean Energy Package
  5. UNICEFUp to Three Quarters of Children Face Abuse & Exploitation on Mediterranean Migration Routes
  6. Swedish EnterprisesEurope Under Challenge; Recipe for a Competitive EU
  7. European Public Health AllianceCall to International Action to Break Deadlock on Chronic Diseases Crisis
  8. CES - Silicones EuropePropelling the construction revolution with silicones
  9. EU2017EEEU 2018 Budget: A Case of Three Paradoxes
  10. ACCAUS 'Dash for Gas' Could Disrupt Global Gas Markets
  11. Swedish Enterprises“No Time to Lose” Film & Debate on How Business & Politics Can Fight Climate Change
  12. European Free AllianceSave The Date!! 26.09 - Coppieters Awards To... Carme Forcadell