Tear down your barriers, European Union says after summit with China’s Xi Jinping

Elias Hubbard
September 15, 2020

The deal, when reached, will give European companies greater access to the Chinese market and to prevent the EU from increasing trade defenses.

There is also scope for cooperation in global governance, climate change as well as worldwide and regional issues, Feng said, adding that China and the European Union are keen to reach a high-level and high-quality investment agreement, which will help resolve some outstanding issues in bilateral economic relations.

The EU has asked China to grant independent observers access to its Xinjiang region, where Beijing is accused of orchestrating widespread rights abuses against the region's Muslim Uighur population.

The demand for a level playing field was justified today given China's economic transformation in the past 15 years, Merkel said.

For example, the European Union sharply criticized the Hong Kong national security law, passed by Chinese lawmakers in June and laying down harsh new penalties for crimes including subversion, secessionism and foreign collusion there. "We are really serious about having access to the Chinese market".

Germany is Europe's biggest pork producer and recently saw a surge in demand from China after it suffered an outbreak of the same disease. Beijing must follow up offers of fairer economic policies with actual concessions, they said.

As governments around the world are seeking to reopen their countries, the two sides need to focus on how to step up their collective and coordinated response to facilitate cross-border movements of people and goods while doing their best to reduce the risk of new trans-border cases to a minimum. They claim that the Uighurs are treated equally, and that Beijing always protects the rights of China's ethnic minorities.

"There is no one-size-fits-all path to human rights development in the world", Xi said, according to Xinhua.

Merkel said at the same press conference that "overall, cooperation with China must be based on certain principles - reciprocity, fair competition".

For their parts, Merkel, Michel and von der Leyen said China is an important strategic partner respected by the EU. It is imperative for Europe and China to strengthen cooperation, jointly safeguard multilateralism, resist unilateralism and protectionism, and respond more effectively to various global challenges, which is in line with the common interests of both Europe and China and the worldwide community.

Since 2001, when China ascended to the World Trade Organization, the two powers' economies have increasingly been linked.

Furthermore, the two sides should work together to crack open new areas for cooperation, as Xi proposed at the 22nd China-EU leaders' meeting in June, to forge a green and digital partnership between China and the EU by fostering cooperation in clean energy, sustainable finance, e-commerce and cloud computing.

The meeting comes as ties between China and the USA deteriorate, with both sides locked in fierce recriminations over trade disputes, human rights and the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.

The leaders also exchanged views on global and regional issues including the Afghanistan and the Iranian nuclear issues, agreeing to strengthen communication and coordination and to make joint efforts in maintaining worldwide and regional security and stability.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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