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Multilateralism stressed with European leaders

Updated: Jul 16,2018 8:52 PM

Premier Li Keqiang, European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker co-chaired the 20th China-EU leaders’ meeting in Beijing on July 16.

Premier Li said China-EU relations have come to an important stage. China steadfastly supports European integration and hopes to see a united, stable and advancing EU.

China is willing to enhance strategic communication with the EU, deepen pragmatic cooperation and push forward the comprehensive strategic partnership, the Premier said.

President Xi Jinping will meet with Tusk and Juncker to exchange opinions over the development of China-EU ties, he added.

The two sides agreed that facing a complicated international situation, especially rising unilateralism and protectionism, China and the EU — being two major forces and economies in the world — should work together to maintain the rules-based international order. They should promote multilateralism, support free trade, and promote global peace, stability and development.

The two sides agreed to jointly safeguard the Charter of the United Nations and international law, strengthen dialogue on foreign affairs and security policy, and address common challenges.

They reached consensus on building an open world economy, promoting trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, standing against protectionism and unilateralism, supporting multilateral trade and abiding by WTO rules.

China and the EU also plan to establish a working group as a communication mechanism to discuss issues about WTO reforms.

During the meeting, the two sides exchanged the bidding list on the China-EU investment agreement and agreed to start dialogues on drug control and humanitarian aid and to perform a joint feasibility study on deepening cooperation in the wine and spirits industries.

Dialogue and cooperation in such fields as the environment, energy, intellectual property rights, digital economy and urbanization also will be promoted.

China and the EU are committed to strengthening dialogue and cooperation on intellectual property. They will expand two-way opening-up, improve the environment for market access and investment, promote the alignment between China’s Belt and Road Initiative with the EU development plan, and complete the China-EU GI Agreement negotiations as soon as possible.

The two sides agreed to advance activities under the framework of the “2018 China-EU Tourism Year”, so as to enhance tourism cooperation and people-to-people exchanges.

They pledged to support the G20 as the main forum for international economic cooperation and continue to play an active role in global economic and financial governance.

It was also agreed that the common interests between China and the EU are far greater than differences, which will be properly handled based on mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit.

Premier Li pointed out that China’s door of opening-up will only open wider. Recently, the Chinese government released a new negative list for market access of foreign investment, which will further expand market access.

This is an opportunity for the EU to expand trade and investment in China, relax restrictions on high-tech exports to China, and create a fair and transparent environment for Chinese companies to invest in Europe, he said.

Premier Li introduced the just-concluded seventh leaders’ meeting of China and 16 Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries. He said 16+1 cooperation is an open, transparent and inclusive cross-regional cooperation platform and a useful supplement to China-EU relations.

It was decided at the meeting to establish the 16+1 Global Partnership Center in Sofia, Bulgaria, to help businesses in 17 countries better understand EU laws and regulations during their cooperation.

European countries and EU institutions are welcome to carry out third-party market cooperation with China in CEE countries to achieve mutual benefits and all-win outcomes, according to the Premier.

Tusk and Juncker said this year marks the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and the EU. Positive progress has been achieved in bilateral cooperation in fields of trade, investment, diplomacy, connectivity and climate change.

They said that major changes, especially rising protectionism and unilateralism, are closely related to world peace and development and require shared responsibility taken by both China and the EU.

Any actions concerning such matters should be based on international rules and historical experiences to avoid conflicts and social instability, they added.

They also spoke highly of 16+1 cooperation, which provided opportunities for China and CEE countries to carry out face-to-face communication and cooperation.

The two sides also exchanged opinions on international and regional issues of common concern.

After the meeting, Premier Li, Tusk and Juncker jointly witnessed the signing of the China-EU cooperation documents in fields such as investment, environmental protection, circular economy, Blue Partnership and customs.

They agreed to issue joint statements on the 20th China-EU leaders’ meeting and global issues, including climate change and clean energy.

In the morning, Premier Li and Juncker attended the opening ceremony of a roundtable of Chinese and EU entrepreneurs, and heard their suggestions on deepening China-EU cooperation. The two sides agreed that China-EU economic, trade and investment cooperation enjoy broad prospects, pledging joint efforts to expand two-way opening-up, ease market access and optimize the business environment for a win-win situation.

State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and head of the National Development and Reform Commission He Lifeng also attended the event.