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China | Brussels, 7 October 2015

Commissioner Malmström met Chinese Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng to take stock of investment talks

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and Chinese Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng met today in Brussels to take stock of progress made so far in the ongoing negotiations for a bilateral investment deal.

"Following my meeting with Minister Gao today, we are getting clarity as regards the scope of our future deal", Commissioner Malmström said. "However, more efforts are still needed to address all obstacles to investment between the EU and China, and to ensure a fair, open and transparent regulatory environment for investors on both sides."

The annual EU-China Joint Committee on Trade chaired by Commissioner Malmström and Minister Gao also provided an opportunity to discuss some of the existing market access barriers and questions related to protection of intellectual property rights – their enforcement, and ways to enhance EU-China cooperation in this area.

Both sides exchanged views on the on-going economic and political reforms in China. Commissioner Malmström underlined the importance of strengthening the rule of law and independent judiciary system, allowing lawyers to operate freely and independently, supporting the work of foreign business and citizens. Referring to the importance of digital society for business operating in China, Commissioner Malmström asked her Chinese counterpart "to contribute to making the internet a vehicle for freedom of expression and free trade".

In addition, the Joint Committee reviewed the preparations for the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference taking place in Nairobi in December of this year. The EU side expressed its deep concern regarding the state of multilateral trade negotiations and emphasised the need for all major WTO Members to be ready to contribute to negotiations and take responsibility for the strengthening of the multilateral system.

At the meeting, Commissioner Malmström also called for a lifting of China's ban on EU beef and to accelerate export authorisations for beef and pork, as well as speeding up import procedures for dairy products.

Background

EU-China investment negotiations were launched in November 2013. Seven rounds have taken place so far. The eighth one is scheduled to be held before the end of the year. The negotiations cover investment protection, market access and other elements further facilitating investment. In accordance with the Joint EU-China Summit Statement of June 2015, the priority for the negotiating teams is now to seek convergence on the scope of the Agreement and establish a joint text by the end of the year.

The Joint Committee taking place today is part of an annual dialogue at ministerial level based on the 1985 Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation between the European Economic Community and China. It is co-chaired by EU Trade Commissioner and the Chinese Minister of Commerce.

The Joint Committee is an important forum to take stock of policy developments in the area of bilateral trade and investment and to review trade irritants arising between both sides. It aims to help removing market access barriers at either side, and to promote trade and investment relations in general. The annual meeting also provides for the opportunity to exchange views on important multilateral and plurilateral trade initiatives and on-going negotiations.

Further information

On the EU's trade relations with China