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EU maps out closer relationship with China

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EU maps out closer relationship with China

China - EU

(BRUSSELS) - The EU adopted Wednesday a Communication entitled 'Elements for a new EU strategy on China', which maps out the European Union's relationship with China for the next five years.

EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said a lot more could be done to connect the European Union with China: "Our citizens, industries, and organisations 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 fulfil its clear potential."

The EU's 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.

These 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.

The Communication says that broader ambitions such as a deep and comprehensive Free Trade Agreement can be considered once an investment agreement between the two sides has been concluded and reforms that level the playing field for domestic and foreign companies have been implemented.

In this regard, the Commission says that China needs to make "significant, time-bound and verifiable" cuts in industrial over-capacity, notably in the steel sector, to prevent negative consequences from unfair competition. Further strengthening the effectiveness of the EU's Trade Defence Instruments, notably through the swift adoption of the Commission's Trade Defence Instruments modernisation proposal of April 2013, is key, it says.

The EU promises also to continue supporting China's economic and social reform programme through its many dialogues with China so that the country can reap the full benefits of market-led reform, including by eliminating state-induced economic distortions and reforming state-owned enterprises.

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

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

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