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EU-China investment relationship "fundamental source of mutual benefit"

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-09-18 10:18

BRUSSELS -- European Union Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht on Tuesday said while the EU-China investment relationship needed further strengthening, it "remains a fundamental source of mutual benefit."

"We need to work together to build an economic relationship that is more than the sum of its parts. A relationship that drives growth at home and contributes to growth in the world economy at large," he said.

"As two of largest players in that economy that is not only in our interest, it is our responsibility," De Gucht added.

He noted there was considerable room for improvement in investment between EU and China, citing that Europe's investment in China added up to less than roughly 2 percent -- 4 percent if Hong Kong is included -- of its total investments abroad.

"In comparison, 30 percent of our stocks are in the United States. China's investments in Europe, while growing, still account for less than 1 per cent of total foreign direct investment here. In comparison, 20 percent is American." De Gucht said.

He said bilateral investment would benefit both sides as European investors would have better access to the Chinese market and their Chinese counterparts would be more encouraged to invest in Europe.

"Companies operating in both Europe and China would be able to operate on a more level playing field -- no matter what their origin or ownership structures," said De Gucht.

Investors too would have a simpler legal framework to deal with, De Gucht added. "A new agreement would consolidate all of the 25 current bilateral investment treaties (with 27 of our member states) into a single framework," he said.

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