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Thursday, June 23, 2016, 09:28

EU unveils 5-yr strategy for China ties

By Xinhua

BRUSSELS - The High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the European Commission on Wednesday adopted a Joint Communication which maps out the EU's relationship with China for the next five years.

The Joint Communication identifies major opportunities for the EU's relationship with China, in particular with the aim of creating jobs and growth in Europe as well as vigorously promoting a greater opening up of the Chinese market to European business, thus contributing to the first priority of President Jean-Claude Juncker's Commission.

According to a Commission press release, such opportunities include "concluding an ambitious and comprehensive agreement on investment, a Chinese contribution to the Investment Plan for Europe, joint research and innovation activities, as well as connecting the Eurasian continent via a physical and digital network through which trade, investment and people-to-people contact can flow".

"Looking further ahead, broader ambitions such as a deep and comprehensive Free Trade Agreement can be considered once an ambitious investment agreement between the two sides has been concluded and reforms that level the playing field for domestic and foreign companies have been implemented," said the press release.

The Joint Communication also highlights opportunities for closer cooperation and partnership between the EU and China in the fields of foreign and security policy.

"Building on the positive experience of the Iran nuclear talks,  the EU and China should work more closely together in order to resolve international conflicts and foreign policy priorities both bilaterally and in multilateral contexts such as the UN system and in the G20," it said.

"Issues of a global nature like migration, international development assistance, the environment and fighting climate change can only be resolved through a global response, and for this reason a collaborative EU-China relationship is crucial," it said.

The High Representative Federica Mogherini said that "the EU and China already cooperate on so much: we work together on the global and political issues of our times, such as Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, migration and climate change. But we can and must do more to connect the EU and China."

"Our citizens, industries, and organizations can all benefit from a closer, improved, and better-defined EU-China relationship based on shared responsibility. The Joint Communication that we have adopted today will, I am sure, enable our relationship to fulfill its clear potential," she said.

According to the Commission, the European Commission's last Communication on China in 2006 was adopted a decade ago. The EU and China have both undergone considerable changes since then. This new reality calls for a fresh EU narrative that recognises the need to deal with these new developments.

The EU's new strategy therefore sets out to promote EU interests and underline EU values in its relationship with China for the next five years, said the Commission.

The Joint Communication will now be presented to the Council and to the European Parliament.

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