China and the EU provide symbiotic growth
The EU is ready to be a reliable and predictable partner for cooperation with China, while strengthening high-level exchanges and developing cooperation through direct dialogue so that both sides can better face global challenges, European Council President Charles Michel said during the meeting. With Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Charles Michel said the EU is ready to work with China to continue progress on the Comprehensive Investment Agreement (GIA), strengthen stability and mutual trust on supply chain issues, and deepen cooperation in areas of mutual benefit.
China and the EU are major trade and investment partners, but relations have soured in recent years over a number of issues, including EU sanctions on Chinese officials over China’s northwestern Xinjiang region, or the EU’s growing mistrust of Chinese investment.
Charles Michel’s foreign policy visit to Beijing on Thursday is seen as a positive signal by Chinese experts and European companies doing business in China.
The EU Chamber of Commerce in China said in a statement on Thursday: “This visit is a positive signal and underlines that the two sides continue to engage in dialogue to find areas of cooperation, despite rising tensions.”
According to him, European business representatives believe that this commitment at the highest political level can set the tone for the overall relationship between the EU and China.
“This visit is a step in the right direction,” said the Chamber of Commerce, noting that “in order to revive EU-China relations, it is necessary to continue and deepen relations at all levels and focus on these areas” Ensuring mutual access to the respective markets of China and the EU and it is possible to achieve concrete results for the benefit of both parties, including the provision of fair competition”.
Sun Yanhong, a researcher at the Institute of European Studies (CSA) of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, sees Charles Michel’s visit as a sign of a change of direction in the EU’s stance on China.
“This indicates the EU’s intention not to allow ideological conflict to dominate pragmatic cooperation. It is also a sign that there may be fewer political obstacles for bilateral economic and trade cooperation in the near future,” predicted Sun Yanhong.
It took place before the European Council president’s visit to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in early November, during which the German leader rejected economic isolation and bloc conflict. He should be followed by French President Emmanuel Macron.
“The message of Charles Michel’s visit is that there will be no disconnection with China and no reduction in economic relations with China,” Sun Yanhong said.
The researcher notes that as economic cooperation with China becomes more important for the EU, which is facing growing economic competition and discord with the US, ongoing energy crisis, inflationary problems and a possible recession, the EU’s attitude towards China is heating up.
According to experts, China is the most important trading partner of the EU, while the EU is the second most important trading partner for China. Moreover, China’s status as a huge market and production base plays a decisive role in the success of European companies.
“The depth and duration of any recession will depend on the EU’s internal policies, but also to a large extent on its cooperation with its partners,” Sun Yanhong explains.
Commenting on Charles Michel’s visit, China’s Commerce Ministry spokesman Shu Jueting said Thursday that China and the EU have developed “strong and symbiotic economic relations.”
“China attaches great importance to the development of relations with Europe, and is committed to deepening mutually beneficial cooperation while safeguarding the stability of global industry and supply chains, safeguarding the institutions and rules of the global economy,” he said.
According to the spokesman, in the first 10 months of the year, bilateral trade increased by 6.3% year-on-year and reached 711.4 billion US dollars (675.6 billion euros).