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EU and China to discuss pandemic economic recovery


EU and China to discuss pandemic economic recovery

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Photo: Yuriko Nakao/Bloomberg

The 22nd EU-China summit will take place today via videoconference, after in-person talks were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will represent the EU, while Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will speak on behalf of Beijing. The leaders are expected to discuss cooperation with post-pandemic economic recovery, along with an EU-China investment deal that would increase transparency in licensing and authorisation procedures for foreign investors in China.

China is unlikely to concede the special status afforded to its state-owned enterprises (SOEs) for the deal, while Germany—set to assume the rotating European Council presidency in July—remains determined to push for increased economic openness from China in order to obtain a fairer agreement. Amid a global recession, the meeting will only deepen divisions between Beijing and Brussels if China cannot commit to heightened transparency about its subsidies for SOEs.

Given that the European Parliament voted on June 19 for the EU to impose targeted sanctions, such as asset freezes and travel bans, against Chinese officials responsible for the new Hong Kong security law, expect economic tensions between the trade partners to escalate.

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