29th Mar 2023

Barroso to discuss five-year plan during China visit

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso will travel to China this week (29 April - 1 May) for talks with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao as the two sides look to map out a five-year co-operation plan.

"We will seize this opportunity to generate positive momentum in our 35-year relationship and develop a far-reaching agenda for the next five years," Mr Barroso said in a statement on Monday.

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  • The Shanghai Expo 2010 performance centre: Mr Barroso will attend the opening ceremony on Friday (Photo: stefano meneghetti)

"The EU and China are important global players and it is essential that we work together in addressing common challenges," the Portuguese politician added ahead of his visit to Beijing and Shanghai, his first since the new commission was formed in February and since the EU's new rulebook, the Lisbon Treaty, finally came into force.

A number of other EU commissioners are scheduled to make the journey: EU high representative Catherine Ashton, digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes, culture commissioner Androulla Vassiliou, trade commissioner Karel De Gucht, energy commissioner Gunther Oettinger and climate action commissioner Connie Hedegaard.

The EU is China's largest trading partner, with the growing number of trade disputes set to feature prominently in talks between Mr De Gucht and his Chinese counterpart, as will questions of market access.

Earlier this month, Joerg Wuttke, president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, said lobbying from local Chinese firms was leading Beijing to slow down market-opening reforms. "The pie is getting bigger and the door is getting narrower," Mr Wuttke told reporters.

Currency issues will also be on the agenda, with Europe once again joining the US in calling for an appreciation of the Chinese currency, the renminbi. However, while he EU will discuss the revaluation of yuan with China, "Our idea is not to put pressure because we think it doesn't work," EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said in a recent interview with Chinese state news agency Xinhua.

Connie Hedegaard will meet a number of Chinese officials involved in international climate negotiations ahead of the upcoming UN talks scheduled for the beginning of June.

On Friday, Mr Barroso will participate in the opening ceremony of the Shanghai World Expo 2010 and the inauguration of the EU Pavilion the following day.


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