Chinese and EU officials to show strong support for free trade at annual EU-China summit

Chinese and EU officials to show strong support for free trade at annual EU-China summit

Key EU officials meet with their Chinese counterparts today for the 20th EU-China summit, which aims to boost bilateral cooperation

EU-China-summit-handshake-Commission

Photo: Reuters

Key EU officials meet with their Chinese counterparts today for the 20th EU-China summit, which aims to boost bilateral cooperation and increase trade and investment between the two economies.

European Council President Donald Tusk and members of the Commission’s trade delegation are expected to outline the EU’s trade policies for the coming year, as it looks to promote itself as a global champion of free trade. Talks with China over a potential free-trade agreement come amidst a flurry of EU activity over ongoing or concluded trade talks with Australia, Canada and Japan. China is expected to use the summit to assuage growing concerns in Europe over the acquisition of ‘strategically important’ companies by Chinese groups seeking advanced industrial expertise. Additionally, Beijing is expected to push for an easing of the European Commission’s proposed new foreign investment screening system, which has sought to restrict Chinese investment in ‘strategic industries.’

The summit is expected to result in closer economic relations between Europe and China, at a time of rising US protectionism on trade. The EU and China are expected to take initial steps to ease restrictions on agricultural imports, with China beginning to ease ownership thresholds for foreign investors. These steps should boost the chances of a significant breakthrough in free trade talks between the two economies in the coming year.

Wake up smarter with an assessment of the stories that will make headlines in the next 24 hours. Download The Daily Brief.