European Union

China publishes wish list for relationship with European Union

  • Beijing wants EU to ‘explicitly oppose Taiwan independence in any form’ and not interfere in Hong Kong affairs, foreign ministry paper says
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 December, 2018, 7:31pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 December, 2018, 6:49pm

China has called on the European Union to stick with Beijing to weather trade protectionism and reduce hurdles to Chinese investment, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

In a policy paper, China said it had no fundamental strategic conflicts with the EU, but demanded the bloc “explicitly oppose Taiwan independence in any form”, not interfere in Hong Kong affairs or support separatist movements in Xinjiang.

The policy paper was released as China and the US lock horns in a trade war. While they have agreed on a 90-day truce, they face risks from increased tariffs that may follow if negotiations break down.

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The EU and its member states have voiced opposition to the US approach of higher tariffs to press China. The bloc has its own trade disputes with the US, but it shares the US position on China’s market restrictions and state intervention in the economy.

The EU, like the US, has also intensified national security scrutiny of China’s technology investments.

China and the EU need to stand firmly against unilateralism and protectionism, push for a more open, inclusive and balanced economic globalisation beneficial to all,” the paper released by the foreign ministry said.

“[China and the US should] handle disagreements and frictions in a constructive manner, avoid politicising economic and trade issues, and ensure the sustained, steady and win-win progress of China-EU economic and trade relations.”

The paper said China would import more high-quality goods from the EU, but demanded the EU ease its controls on hi-tech exports to China.

“China will significantly ease market access,” it said. “China hopes that the EU will keep its investment market open, reduce and eliminate investment hurdles and discriminatory barriers, and provide Chinese companies investing in Europe a fair, transparent and predictable policy environment and protect their legitimate rights and interests.”

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China and the EU should expand cooperation in various fields and engage in third-party cooperation. It added that China welcomed the participation of the EU in its “Belt and Road Initiative”. Major EU players, including Germany and France, are sceptical that China is using the trade and infrastructure strategy to divide the bloc and lure Central and Eastern European nations to its side.

China has attempted to consolidate ties with Europe in the past months, hoping the bloc will not follow the US’ harsh approach to addressing trade disputes.

Beijing and Brussels are negotiating an investment treaty formally known as the Comprehensive Agreement of Investment. The sides exchanged proposals on market access, a key part of the treaty, this summer.

The paper said China hoped Britain’s departure from the EU would take place in an orderly manner. Despite Brexit, the EU remained committed to integration and played a major role in global affairs, it said.

“China hopes to see Brexit proceed in an orderly fashion and stands ready to advance China-EU and China-UK relations at the same time,” the paper said.