China, EU to launch investment discussions

Updated: 2013-11-20 07:05

By Li Jiabao (China Daily)

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China and the European Union are preparing to launch negotiations for a bilateral investment treaty during the upcoming China-EU summit, Shen Danyang, spokesman of the Ministry of Commerce, said on Tuesday.

"As for the important negotiations, China is already prepared. Both sides are working closely to make sure the official launch of the negotiations happens during the summit," Shen said.

The 16th China-EU Summit will be held in Beijing on Thursday to outline cooperation projects for the next five to 10 years. During the fourth China-EU High-Level Economic and Trade Dialogue, held on Oct 24 in Brussels, the two sides reached a consensus to start talks on a bilateral investment agreement at the upcoming summit.

China and the EU are comprehensive strategic partners with close economic and trade ties. A high-level investment agreement is in line with mutual interests. It will not only boost two-way investment but also balance the economic and trade relationship between the two sides, Shen said.

Despite trade friction and other difficulties between China and the EU, bilateral economic ties are in good shape and cooperation is needed for two-way investment projects and to boost global value chains, according to the spokesman.

"China highly values the ties with the EU and takes the bloc as an important trade and investment partner. Many conjunctions will emerge as China strives to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society by 2020 and the bloc advances the Europe 2020 strategy for structural reform. The two sides face an unusual historical chance for cooperation. We hope we can seize the opportunities and jointly oppose trade protectionism to bring about mutual benefits," Shen said.

China, EU to launch investment discussions

In the January-October period, trade between China and the EU edged up 0.5 percent year-on-year to $456.1 billion, reversing the sliding momentum seen last year, according to Shen. China's exports to the bloc decreased 0.7 percent to $275.9 billion and its imports went up 2.4 percent to $180.2 billion, yielding a trade surplus of $95.7 billion.

In the first 10 months of the year, China's non-financial foreign direct investment from the EU rose 22.26 percent from a year earlier to $6.4 billion, according to the ministry. In 2012, FDI from the EU went up 1.6 percent year-on-year to $5.35 billion.

In the same period, China's non-financial outward direct investment in the bloc jumped 92.4 percent to $3.04 billion. And cooperation between Chinese companies and their European counterparts, which have advanced technology and well-known brands, has become a highlight of bilateral cooperation, Shen said.

He added that trade friction is inevitable as bilateral trade continues to expand, and that consultation and dialogue are the right way to address disputes.

In July, China and the EU settled a solar panel dispute involving Chinese exports worth more than $20 billion, showing that the two sides are wise enough to properly manage trade friction, Shen said.

China and the EU have also taken initial steps to establish an alert mechanism to avoid, reduce and even eliminate trade friction, Shen said.

Zhang Xiangchen, assistant minister of commerce, said during the EU-China Conference on Global Value Chains on Tuesday that both China and the EU attach great importance to global value chains, and that China, as an emerging economy, has to play a more important role.

Joao Aguiar Machado, deputy director-general at the European Commission's Directorate-General for Trade, said that the current global value chains fall behind global trade development.

China should deepen its connections with global trade systems, promote the free flow of resources at home and abroad and enhance its role in global value chains to establish new competitive edges, said Jiang Zhuangde, vice-president of Xi'an Jiaotong University.