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Climate change

China and EU agree to endorse trade and Paris climate deal in rejecting Trump’s policies

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 June, 2017, 2:47am
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 June, 2017, 2:47am

China and the European Union plan to commit to free trade and the Paris climate pact in a sweeping rejection of President Donald Trump’s protectionist policies, according to a joint draft statement.

The two sides are preparing the document to give additional heft to EU-China talks, including Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, on Thursday and Friday in Brussels.

Trump is said to be leaning toward pulling the US out of the climate-change agreement after other Group of Seven leaders failed to win him over at a summit in Italy last week. The discord prompted German Chancellor Angela Merkel to suggest the US had become an unreliable partner.

The draft said the EU and China want climate change and clean energy to “become a main pillar of their bilateral partnership, including in their economic relations.” The two sides also “recognise the importance of developing global free trade and investment.”

“The Americans can’t just exit this climate protection treaty,” EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who will be among the officials meeting Li, said in a speech in Berlin on Wednesday. “It’s Europe’s obligation to say: You can’t do that.”

The EU and China will call on all parties to uphold the Paris agreement because climate change is a “national security issue and multiplying factor of social and political fragility, and constitutes a root cause for instability,” according to the draft statement.

An EU official in Brussels told reporters earlier Wednesday that the accord concluded in 2015 will stay in force and continue to be implemented even if the US withdrew.

Ahead of the Brussels meeting, Merkel received Li at the chancellery in Berlin for talks on Wednesday. The two leaders plan to hold a news conference in the German capital on Thursday.