China and the European Union agreed yesterday to co-operate more in their efforts to stamp out the people-smuggling trade. The agreement came during an EU-China summit meeting in Beijing. A second meeting of experts is now scheduled to be held before the end of the year. A group of Chinese migration experts visited Brussels for a day of meetings on October 13. 'It would be useful at least to be able to exchange information,' EU President Romano Prodi said. 'We have to do something; think of the size of China's population.' French President Jacques Chirac said events like the deaths of Chinese illegal migrants in a container at Dover, England, earlier this year were unacceptable. Both sides have now agreed to co-operate in detecting and dismantling criminal networks involved in trafficking and in organising information campaigns aimed at potential victims. During talks on human rights, Mr Chirac read out a list of political prisoners and said he raised the question of China's treatment of Catholics, Falun Gong followers and the issue of Tibet. Mr Prodi said he asked China to ratify key UN covenants on human rights. Xinhua said the International Convention of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights was 'up for deliberation and ratification' during an October 23 to October 31 session of the National People's Congress. It might be ratified next year, but the more sensitive covenant on civil political rights is not expected to come into force for years. Mr Chirac said it was 'regrettable' that it had not proceeded more quickly. On his last visit two years ago, he was told the two treaties would be pushed through in a matter of months. He defended the EU's dialogue on human rights as a sign of progress and put a positive spin on the situation, saying things were moving in the right direction even if not all problems could be solved. He talked of China's 'evolution' within the context of a political liberalisation taking place all over the world during 40 years and gave South America as an example of how things change. But Mr Chirac was more vehement when it came to rebuffing China's criticism of a French satellite sale to Taiwan. 'This is not a problem in Franco-Chinese relations,' he insisted, saying President Jiang Zemin had agreed it should not interfere with overall relations. Mr Chirac pointed out that China only raised objections in a letter sent a year after the sale was announced.