Thursday

24th May 2018

Focus

MEPs tell Chinese ambassador of concerns on trade

  • MEPs raised worries about China's respect for intellectual property rights, steel overcapacity and opening up of its domestic market (Photo: Frans Berkelaar)

EU and China cannot do without each other but still cannot trust each other. The paradox of their relationship was clear on Monday (23 April), when the European Parliament international trade committee exchanged views with Beijing's new EU ambassador, Zhang Ming.

"We should really look to stabilise our relations," said the committee's chair, German social democrat MEP Bernd Lange, referring to the global context where protectionism seems to be on the rise and the rules-based trading system under threat.

But in a draft opinion that is part of a wider upcoming parliament report on EU-China relations, the trade committee has already pointed out issues that hamper smooth economic relations between the pair.

MEPs have called on China to "further open up the Chinese market to foreign investors, strengthen the protection of intellectual property rights and level the playing field by making China's market more transparent and better regulated."

They also expressed "concern about industrial overcapacity in China's steel sector" and called for "further reciprocity in market access."

"We have to be sincere enough to debate frankly," the opinion's rapporteur, Romanian centre-right MEP Iuliu Winkler told the China's envoy on Monday.

"We are very open to discussing the issues" mentioned in the opinion, ambassador Zhang Ming told the MEPs, in his first public appearance in an EU institution.

He insisted that with $600bn of trade in goods, over $100bn in trade of services and a stock of investment of nearly $200bn, EU-China economic and trade relations are "by nature mutually beneficial."

The ambassador argued that issues raised by the MEPs "take up a very small part of our overall cooperation" and that "to solve problems we must look ahead, not look back."

In the wake of US president Donald Trump's imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminium, MEPs insisted on EU demands that China reduces its overcapacity in the sector.

Ming said the issue was "global challenge" that was "not specific to China alone" and pointed out that the country had already lowered its steel production by over 115 million tons and had to find another job for hundreds of thousands of sector workers.

He also assured MEPs that negotiations for a bilateral investment agreement with the EU were a "priority" for China and that the government was "already taking actions".

"Direction is more important than speed," he told MEPs.


"We welcome engagements," Winkler answered the ambassador, adding that they were "very important" and "sounding very promising".

Trump chaos breeds better EU-China relations

The EU has encouraged China to take a leading role in fighting the new US protectionism - but has also insisted that Beijing needs to reform and needs to be fairer to European investors and traders.

Analysis

Macron's Chinese 'game of influence'

On his recent visit to China, the French president tried to take advantage of Beijing's 'divide and rule' EU approach and become the country's main interlocutor with Europe - while also calling for more EU coordination.

Stakeholder

Openness for greater prosperity, innovation for a better future

Reform and opening-up is a great process that has seen China and the world achieve development and progress together, with more than 700 million Chinese people lifted out of poverty, China's president Jinping told the Boao Forum for Asia.

Supported by

News in Brief

  1. Gazprom accepts EU conditions on gas supplies
  2. Facebook tells MEPs: non-users are not profiled
  3. Commission proposes ending France deficit procedure
  4. UK households hit with Brexit income loss
  5. Report: EU faces 10% cut in steel exports to US
  6. Australia wants more access to EU agricultural market
  7. CV of Italian PM candidate under scrutiny
  8. Puigdemont Spain extradition rejected by German court

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  2. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and reconciliation is a process that takes decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  3. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  4. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  5. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  7. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual Report celebrates organization’s tenth anniversary
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cooperation Needed on Green Exports and Funding
  10. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li Confirms China Will Continue to Open Up
  11. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach
  12. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May

Latest News

  1. GDPR does not (yet) give right to global oblivion
  2. Privacy Shield less relevant given GDPR, says data chief
  3. Unknown academic to lead Italy into EU clash
  4. 'Killer robot' projects eligible for EU defence fund
  5. Funding for European values needs radical changes
  6. Feeble EU format deflates Zuckerberg 'hearing'
  7. Are EU data watchdogs staffed for GDPR?
  8. EU pessimistic on permanent US trade exemption