tirsdag 15. september 2020

China pledges expanded trade with EU but stops short on market access concessions

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday pledged to expand agri-food imports from the European Union and cooperate on climate change – but he stopped short of making key concessions on the thorny issue of market access and hit back hard at EU criticism of human rights in China. In a video call with three EU leaders aimed at patching up a relationship which has been strained by the
coronavirus pandemic, Xi said he also hoped to sign a deal to protect European investors’ interests in China.

But, in a press conference after the virtual meeting, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen could hardly conceal her disappointment – mirroring the bloc’s harder stance towards China on a range of issues. “I want to caution that a lot – a lot – still remains to be done,” she said, citing market access and sustainability. “With market access, it is not a question of meeting halfway, it is a question of rebalancing the asymmetry and a question of openness of our respective markets,” she said. “China has to convince us that it is worth having an investment agreement.”